DOE Tries to Hire Away Another New Mexico WQCC Decision Maker
It was revealed at the Tuesday, April 11th monthly meeting of the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission that the Department of Energy (DOE) had approached Kelsey Rader, an at-large member of the Commission, on Good Friday about a job with DOE. If Commissioner Rader took a position with DOE, she would be the third official who was hired away by DOE during the Commission’s review of DOE’s New Mexico Environment Department ground water discharge permit.
The permit, called DP-1132, would cover the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The Environment Department issued the permit to DOE under the New Mexico Water Quality Act on May 5, 2022.
Since 2013, CCNS has vigorously challenged the permit, arguing that the Facility handles, treats and stores dangerous hazardous waste and must be regulated by the more protective New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act.
DOE hired away two previous hearing officers while they were presiding over the public hearings about DP-1132. They were Erin Anderson in 2018 and Stephanie Stringer in 2022. Anderson was an Environment Department hearing officer, who went to work for DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CCW-MOTION-TO-VACATE-AND-REMAND-WQCC-18-05-A-on-DP-1132-20190204.pdf AND http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/190606-CCW-Petition-for-Mandamus-2019-06-06.pdf Stringer was the Environment Department Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Chair of the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission. Stringer also went to work for NNSA. http://nuclearactive.org/ccns-and-hope-return-to-water-quality-control-commission-for-justice-in-the-discharge-permit-dp-1132-matter/
“It was shocking to be in the hearing room when this information about Commissioner Rader discussing a job with DOE was revealed,” said Joni Arends, of CCNS.
Commissioner Rader did speak with Commission Counsel, Robert F. Sanchez, before the meeting. And, out of an abundance of caution, Rader did abstain from voting on the DP-1132 matter.
One of the Commission’s tasks at the meeting was to elect a new Chair and Vice Chair. Bruce Thomson was elected Chair, and Kelsey Rader, who is discussing a job with DOE, was elected Vice-Chair. https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/water-quality-control-commission/
You can watch the Commission’s meeting on the Environment Department’s YouTube page. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1mQA0FgEgoLqs4Hktlvi4g
The next Commission action in this matter will be to hear oral arguments at its Tuesday, May 9th meeting. The Commission will consider whether CCNS and Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE) have standing to bring their challenge to the Water Quality Act permit. https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D165936752
If the Commission votes that CCNS and HOPE have standing, then the Commission will consider the CCNS and HOPE petition for a permit review. The Water Quality Act has a limitation that no permit may be issued if the Hazardous Waste Act covers a facility because it handles, treats or stores dangerous hazardous waste.
Did You Know about these Opportunities to Get Involved?
- Friday, April 14th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi and others.
- Sunday, April 16th from 1 pm to 4:30 pm – What is WIPP? Free educational conference – in-person in Santa Fe and on Zoom – in Spanish and English. Join New Mexicans to learn about the New Mexico Environment Department’s draft renewal permit for the continued operation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). DOE says it wants to:
- keep WIPP open until at least 2080;
- double the size of the underground disposal facility for expanded plutonium pit production waste generation at LANL;
- bring powdered surplus plutonium for disposal, among other wastes.
There will be presentations about WIPP history, the facility, and proposed expansion of WIPP, NMED’s draft operating permit, and the ways in which the public can have a say in WIPP’s future. Comments are due Wednesday, April 19th by 5 pm MT to the NMED. For more information, please visit: https://stopforeverwipp.org/home
- April 15th to 22nd – Shut Down Drone Warfare – Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico – “From Tax Day to Earth Day, Rise Up!” Co-sponsored by CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace and Ban Killer Drones. Join in a week of peaceful resistance against drone warfare and out-of-control U.S. empire. Why Holloman? It is the largest-drone training base in the U.S. – training 600 or more drone pilots and operators annually. For more information: http://www.shutdowndronewarfare.org/
Three great peace activists join us to discuss the upcoming protest at Holloman Air Force Base in April. Toby Blome, Colonel Ann Wright, and Ken Mayers talk about drones, the dangers, and the damage to people on the ground and people at the control. They also discuss the international ramifications of drones and their uncontrolled spread. With all that, they are protesting at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico and are encouraging people to come. There will be transportation, lodging, food, workshops, speakers, music, and yes non-violent direct action, specifics are a secret. https://soundcloud.com/user-55976759/33023-veterans-for-peace-shut-down-drone-warfare-protest-is-coming
- Wednesday, April 19th by 5 pm MT – Comments about the draft hazardous waste permit for WIPP due to NMED. For sample talking points and comments you can modify and personalize to submit, visit https://stopforeverwipp.org/
- Wednesday, April 19th from 5 to 7 pm – Virtual NMED meeting to modify LANL hazardous waste permit to add a new container storage unit at TA-60 (an infrastructure support technical area). https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl-permit/ , scroll down to Permit News for March 13, 2023 entry. Comments are due on or before May 15, 2023.
Tags: Bruce Thomson, CCNS, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Department of Energy, DOE, DP-1132, Erin Anderson, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, HOPE, Kelsey Rader, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Nuclear Security Administration, New Mexico Environment Department, New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act, New Mexico Water Quality Act, New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, NMED, NMED Deputy Cabinet Secretary, NNSA, Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility, RLWTF, Robert F. Sanchez, Stephanie Stringer, WQCC, WQCC Chair
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