Opposition to Possible LANL Participation in Midtown Santa Fe

On Wednesday, protesters gathered at the St. Francis of Assisi statue at the Santa Fe City Hall to express opposition to any participation in Midtown Santa Fe by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as a master developer or as a tenant in any of the other six proposals.  Although the proposals have not been made public, it is understood that the National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy (DOE), and LANL have submitted proposals to participate fully at the potentially expanding 66-acre site between Cerrillos Road, St. Michael’s Drive, Siringo Road, and Camino Carlos Rey.  While the City’s website states that the City will announce the finalists on January 15th, as of this writing, the announcement has not been made.  https://www.santafenm.gov/media/rfps_docs/RFEI_20.05_.P__Real_Estate_Developers_and_or_Business_Entities_.pdf, p. 6.

Organized by the Los Alamos Study Group, nearly 50 people participated in the peaceful protest.  Greg Mello, Director of the Study Group, explained that because of safety lapses involving nuclear criticality, the City Council passed a resolution in 2018 opposing planned expanded production of the plutonium cores, or pits, for nuclear weapons at LANL.  https://www.lasg.org/  The plans of the Commander-in-Chief and DOE involve increased plutonium pit production from an authorized 20 per year to 30 per year – an increase of 50 percent.  In December, Congress approved $712 million in increased funding for this work.  https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/in-the-news/final-defense-budget-nearly-doubles-spending-on-pit-production

At the protest, Jim Eagle, a retired Navy officer who served on nuclear submarines, said, “If you’re against the nuclear mission, you’re against the training of the workforce and administrative support.”

There is little room in Los Alamos County for the needed housing and services for the projected 1,000 employees a year that LANL plans to hire over the next five years.  DOE wants to create a New Mexico Innovation Triangle with Midtown nearly halfway between LANL and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.  https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/santa-fe-receives-proposals-to-redevelop-midtown-campus/article_ec2199c2-5228-5b83-a2c4-7c1241e704a9.html

Further, the Midtown Santa Fe is designated as an Opportunity Zone.  In 2017, Congress, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, created these zones.  Under the law, governors are allowed to nominate certain census tracts as Opportunity Zones.  The New Mexico Economic Development Department describes the status this way:  “Designation as an Opportunity Zone allows for the creation of a new class of investment vehicle with tax advantages authorized to aggregate and deploy private investment located in Opportunity Zones.  The purpose of these tax advantages is to attract capital investment into economically distressed areas.”  https://gonm.biz/business-development/edd-programs-for-business/finance-development/opportunity-zones

The City announced that a new public input process would begin in February and continue into March and April.  https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/city-closing-in-on-short-list-of-master-developers-for/article_44b98796-33e2-11ea-ac64-7b0e61acfffb.html

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “Regardless of whether LANL is a master developer finalist or a tenant in another finalist development, it is time to get involved in the Midtown process.”

1. Your financial support makes a difference!  Please help CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution or a monthly sustaining donation.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/ We need your contribution to continue keeping you informed through our weekly broadcast and social media postings.  There’s a lot of work to be done in 2020 – and many proposals to expand operations (a new shaft at WIPP; expanded pit production at LANL; Radiation Exposure Compensation Act through House Memorial 5, etc.) are already on the table.  Stay informed with the CCNS Media Network!  Many thanks!

2. Thursday, January 16th – THIS MEETING WAS CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER.  EPA WILL RESCHEDULE IT.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a public meeting (beginning at 5 pm) and hearing (beginning at 7 pm) about the LANL Individual Stormwater Permit renewal at the Pojoaque Valley Sixth Grade Academy, 1574 State Road 502 West.  This permit covers 405 site monitoring areas with the potential to discharge pollutants every time it rains or snows.  Come to the meeting to question why EPA has not required LANL to remove the pollutants from the ground.  https://www.epa.gov/nm/lanl-storm-water-individual-permit-draft-permit-no-nm0030759

3. Tuesday, January 21 at noon – The 2020 New Mexico Legislature begins its 30-day session.  To learn more, go to https://www.nmlegis.gov/

Training opportunities are available at the Center for Progress and Justice at  https://www.facebook.com/Center-For-Progress-and-Justice-194361180574806/

4. Thursday, January 23rd and January 30th – The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will hold public meetings about its yet-to-be-submitted application for renewal of the ten-year hazardous waste permit to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).

IN SANTA FE:   January 23rd from 5 to 7 pm at the Santa Fe Hilton, 100 Sandoval Street, Santa Fe

IN CARLSBAD:  January 30th from 5 to 7 pm at the Skeen-Whitlock Building, 4021 National Park Highway, Carlsbad

For more information and to view the draft hazardous waste facility permit, go to https://wipp.energy.gov/rcra-proposed-mods.asp 

5. Friday, January 31st at noon -11th Annual “Witness for the People” in the rotunda of State Capitol in Santa Fe.  This event is organized by Interfaith Worker Justice- NM as the People of Faith State of the State address.  Music will be provided by Paul and The Tone Daddies. Confirmed speakers include Archbishop John C. Wester; Lt. Governor Howie Morales;  Representative Angelica Rubio (sponsor of House Memorial 5, entitled “Individuals Exposed to Radiation Support,” which urges the New Mexico Congressional delegation to pass the proposed amendments to the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)) ; Marian Naranjo, of Honor Our Pueblo Existence; Tina Cordova, of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, also known as the Trinity Downwinders; and Ken Mayers with Veterans for Peace.  For more information, please contact The Reverend Holly Beaumont at hbeaumont@iwj.org  http://nuclearactive.org/trinity-hiroshima-nagasaki-commemoration-events-in-nm/


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