Current Activities

DOE’s Planned Expansion Could Mean that “It ain’t your Daddy’s WIPP anymore.”

Over 60 people attended a town hall to learn about Santa Fe County’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities.  The town hall focused on the proposed expansion of the types of plutonium-contaminated nuclear waste that could be transported through New Mexico should the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) plan to bring 50 metric tons of surplus plutonium to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/disposal-of-surplus-plutonium-in-the-waste-isolation-pilot-plant

Santa Fe County Commissioners Anna Hamilton and Hank Hughes, along with the 285 ALL community group, organized the event to address growing community concerns about the proposed shipments.  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/committees/board_of_county_commissioners_bcc

If DOE decides to bring this waste via Highway 285 to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for processing, every community along the way must be more fully prepared to respond to an accident or a package failure during transport.

Santa Fe County Assistant Fire Chief Martin Vigil addressed some of these community concerns.  He poignantly said that for incidents involving radiation and nuclear releases there is no difference between real and perceived risks.  It is essential to address both.  https://www.santafecountynm.gov/fire/fire_chief_and_command_staff

County Fire Department personnel have participated in on-going trainings to build core capabilities and strengthen relationships.  Training exercises sometime last three days with 110 patients.  Such extensive trainings allow the discovery of what Vigil calls “gaps.”  He noted, for example, that following decontamination a person needs some type of foot covering to walk to the medical post.  As a result, the County purchased foot coverings.

Vigil emphasized that local governments must make real investments in emergency preparedness and response.  That burden would fall on taxpayers.  He reported that the federal WIPP facility provides $15,000 a year to Santa Fe County.

The 285 ALL presentation focused on the proposed transportation of the triggers, or plutonium pits, for nuclear weapons from the Pantex facility, located north of Amarillo, Texas, to LANL on Highway 285, then to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and finally to WIPP for disposal in the underground salt mine, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico.  At each stage DOE plans to make a significant change to the form and chemical composition of the shipment.

 

Cindy Weehler, of 285 ALL, explained that DOE’s expansion plans for WIPP means that “It ain’t your Daddy’s WIPP anymore.”

285 ALL is “a neighborhood issues awareness group working to help protect our quality of life and maintain property values.”

All are welcome to attend the next 285 ALL meeting on Wednesday, August 11th at 6 pm at the Vista Grande Library in El Dorado.  To contact 285 ALL, email 285ALL@gmail.com.

Handout Nuclear Waste Transport Through your Neighborhood2

 

 

 


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

  1. August 6 – 9: Links to Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration events at Physicians for Social Responsibility website:  https://www.psr.org/calendar/tag_ids~111/

 

          LOCAL NEW MEXICO EVENTS:

 

         *  Friday, August 6th from 4 to 6 pm at Q Station, 3225 Central Ave NE in Albuquerque.   Join the Picket at “Q-Station” in Albuquerque on Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemorations.

The ANSWER Coalition, Los Alamos Study Group, Stop the War Machine, and Veterans for Peace Albuquerque Chapter will be holding a picket at the “Q Station,” a new military-driven storefront in Nob Hill designed to find startups to sell technology to the U.S. military for the purpose of fighting the next war. While marketing itself as hip and innovative, the “Q Station” is nothing more than a way to direct science and technology into building the war machine.

 

           *  Saturday, August 7th from 1 to 3 pm – Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration Event in Los Alamos, NM at Ashley Pond.  A two-hour vigil at the site of the first a-bomb’s creation to commemorate the bombings that fundamentally changed the world.   We must remind ourselves and others of the living hell created by that bomb in hopes that we can avoid any future use of such devices of death.  For more information, contact kenmayers@vfp-santafe.org

 

Sunday, August 8th from 2 – 9 pm – Taos August Peace Pilgrimage at Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM.  Free and open to the public – films, forum and ceremony.  For more information and to view the agenda, please visit https://tcataos.org/calendar/#event=67243093;instance=20210808140000

 

Unable to participate?  Check out Nuclear Games “a new and innovative educational platform about the risks and human impact of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. It is developed by Docmine, a Swiss-based creative studio and produced in the English and German languages. Youth Fusion, along with Physicians for Social Responsibility Switzerland and the Basel Peace Office will facilitate its distribution and promotion, including the organization of virtual screening events and other activities.”  https://www.youth-fusion.org/nuclear-games/

 

 

 

  1. Saturday, August 7th – Written public comments due about the proposed renewal of the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine (recently renamed “Pinyon Plain Mine”), located in Grand Canyon National Park near the south rim. For more information and a click to comment form, go to the Grand Canyon Trust website.  https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/arizona-poised-permit-canyon-uranium-mine

 

 

  1. Monday, August 9th at 7 pm MDT – Virtual public hearing about the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine near the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Make Your Voice Heard!  Register to speak at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1138760210686510351   

 

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration Events in Los Alamos and Taos August 7th and 8th

Near the end of World War Two, on August 6th, 1945, the U.S. Government dropped a uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  Three days later, on August 9th, the U.S. Government dropped a plutonium atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.  Over 200,000 people died instantly.  Those that lived have suffered external and internal radiation effects, among other injuries.  That harm will be commemorated in Los Alamos on Saturday, August 7th, and in Taos on Sunday, August 8th.

On Saturday, August 7th, from 1 to 3 pm, the Joan Duffy Santa Fe Chapter of the Veterans for Peace will hold a two-hour Vigil in Remembrance:  Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 1945, in Los Alamos, the location where the first atomic bombs were developed.  The vigil will commemorate the bombings that fundamentally changed the world.  Everyone is invited to join the vigil at Ashley Pond.

Ken Mayers, of the Veterans for Peace, said, “We must remind ourselves and others of the living hell created by that bomb in hopes that we can avoid any future use of such devices of death.”  For more information, contact kenmayers@vfp-santafe.org and http://www.vfp-santafe.org/home.html

On Sunday, August 8th, from 2 to 9 pm, the Taos August Peace Pilgrimage will take place with films, a Peace Forum, a candlelight ceremony, art and poetry at the Taos Community Auditorium, located at 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.  The event is free and open to the public.  https://taosenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/

Four remarkable and illuminating films will be screened in support of global peace and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  The films are:  The Forgotten Bomb, by Bud Ryan and Stuart Overbey; Hibakusha:  Our Life to Live, by David Rothauser; Vow from Hiroshima, by Susan C. Strickler, and Ashes of Nagasaki, by Emiko Omori.

At 5:30 pm, the Peace Forum entitled What’s Going on at LANL and What is to be Done? begins.  An esteemed panel of New Mexico’s Peace and Justice community will discuss the urgent need to abolish nuclear weapons and the existential global threat of mass extinction they pose.  The panelist are:  Ken Mayers, of the Veterans for Peace https://taosenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/ ; Scott Kovac, of Nuclear Watch New Mexico https://nukewatch.org/ ; Artist and Taos Peace Activist, Serit Kotowski https://seritdelbosque.com/about/ ; Taos Peace Activist, Erich Kuerschner http://www.riograndesun.com/news/northern-new-mexico-demonstrations-question-defense-spending/article_5f9f31ac-fc22-11e9-b35c-335107b2657c.html ; and Joni Arends, of CCNS http://nuclearactive.org/ .

Filmmaker Bud Ryan will moderate the lively panel.  https://www.ksfr.org/people/bud-ryan#stream/0

Finally, a Candlelight Ceremony in Remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 1945, with Sensei Sean Murphy, begins at 8 pm.   https://www.zgatl.org/sensei-sean-murphy.html 

Jean Stevens, Director of the Taos Environmental Film Festival, shares a quote from the former Soviet leader and 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mikhail Gorbachev. He said,  “We should never let ourselves embark on a course of developing nuclear weapons again and of a new arms race.  We have to stop working on pipe dreams, and engage with realpolitik.  We don’t need an apocalypse!  We need peace!”  The source of the Gorbachev quote is from an interview published May 29, 2020 in Tokyo’s The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/25751654.2020.1769529

For more information and schedule, please visit https://taosenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/

 


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

1. Thursday, July 29thThe U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the license application from Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP), formerly Waste Control Specialists (WCS), to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C radioactive waste in Andrews County, Texas. The FEIS is available at this direct link:  https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML2120/ML21209A955.pdf   The NRC notice of the FEIS’s availability is expected to appear in the Federal Register on August 6, 2021.  The NRC also will be filing its FEIS electronically with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the EPA will notice its receipt of the FEIS in the Federal Register on August 13.

 

 

2.  Wednesday, August 4th from 6 to 7:15 pm – Santa Fe County Nuclear Waste Emergency Response Town Hall Meeting, with Santa Fe County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Anna Hamilton.  Hondo Regional Fire Station, Old Las Vegas Hwy. and Hwy. 285 (across from Café Fina), Santa Fe. Town Hall Flyer 2-1

 

 

3.  Links to Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration events at Physicians for Social Responsibility website: https://www.psr.org/calendar/tag_ids~111/    Unable to participate?  Check out Nuclear Games “a new and innovative educational platform about the risks and human impact of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. It is developed by Docmine, a Swiss-based creative studio and produced in the English and German languages. Youth Fusion, along with Physicians for Social Responsibility Switzerland and the Basel Peace Office will facilitate its distribution and promotion, including the organization of virtual screening events and other activities.”  https://www.youth-fusion.org/nuclear-games/

 

 

4.  Saturday, August 7thWritten public comments due about the proposed renewal of the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine (recently renamed “Pinyon Plain Mine”), located in Grand Canyon National Park near the south rim. For more information and a click to comment form, go to the Grand Canyon Trust website.  https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/arizona-poised-permit-canyon-uranium-mine

 

 

5.  Monday, August 9th at 7 pm MDT – Virtual public hearing about the Arizona Dept. of Env’l Quality groundwater permit for the Canyon Mine near the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Make Your Voice Heard!  Register to speak at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1138760210686510351   

 

 

Santa Fe County Nuclear Waste Transportation Emergency Response Town-Hall

Stop FOREVER WIPP!

 

 A Coalition Opposing the Expansion of WIPP

 

Make Plans to Come!

 

Santa Fe County

Nuclear Waste Transportation

Emergency Response

 Town-Hall

 

August 4, 2021

at 6:00 pm

 

at The Hondo Fire Station

on Old Las Vegas Highway and Hwy 285

across from Café Fina

 

 

 

  •     County Fire Chief Martin Vigil will discuss emergency response systems for nuclear waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

 

  •     285ALL Co-Chair Cynthia Weehler will ask how the expansion of WIPP affects emergency preparedness.

 

  •     There will be time for Q & A and actions YOU can take.

 

  •     Sponsored by County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Anna Hamilton and 285ALL

 

 

 

 

 

“If you are in one of the communities along the route, you have something to worry about.”

 

High-level Energy Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.  https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nuclear-couriers-20170310-story.html 

 

Know your risk

 

 

These trucks will carry the waste past our homes

(Images: National Nuclear Security Administration and DOE)

—————————————————————————–

For More Information contact:

 stopforeverwipp@gmail.com

 

Environment Department Ignores Sandia’s Plan to Excavate the Mixed Waste Landfill

Even though Sandia National Laboratory stated it could completely excavate the Mixed Waste Landfill, the New Mexico Environment Department replied that continued sampling and monitoring would be sufficient to address its potential risks.  Sandia stated that it would take ten years to excavate the radioactive and hazardous waste dump.  The unlined dump, sitting above Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer is located five miles from the Albuquerque Sunport and one mile from Mesa del Sol.

In 2004, the Environment Department held a contentious public hearing about a proposed modification to Sandia’s hazardous waste permit to determine whether to clean up the dump or put a dirt cover on it.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/snl-mwl-2/

Citizen Action New Mexico, Dr. Eric Nuttal, and others opposed the dirt cover because their research and analyses of the conditions on the ground and in the groundwater required that the waste should be excavated, treated and disposed of onsite or offsite in licensed facilities.  https://radfreenm.org/  and  https://radfreenm.org/index.php/sandia-national-laboratories-mixed-waste-lanfill/195-mixed-waste-landfill-facts

The hearing resulted in the Environment Department approving the installation of a dirt cover and requiring a Five-Year Review of the decision.

Nevertheless, despite a number of complicated delays and frustrating twists and turns, the Environment Department’s issued a 2016 Final Order for the dump that called for Sandia to meet one of two options.  The first was to install a landfill that meets hazardous waste management laws and regulations.  The waste would be excavated and placed in a licensed landfill with double liners and leachate collection systems beneath both the cover and the liners.  The second option was to excavate the radioactive and hazardous wastes, treat them and dispose of them onsite or ship them offsite.   2016-02-12 Final Order – MWL  The month, the Environment Department chose neither.

In January 2019, Sandia submitted the first Five-Year Review and stated:  “Complete excavation with offsite and onsite disposal are remedial alternatives that could be implemented, if necessary.”  Sandia explained that there have been significant changes over time that makes excavation of the 2.6 acre dump a reasonable option.  These include the decay of the radioactive cobalt-60 in the dump to levels where it no longer poses a threat to workers and the public; and use of conventional excavation approaches and streamlined waste management systems. Sandia MWL Five Year Rpt. Ex. Sum. 12-14-18 See p. iii of Executive Summary, pdf p. 8.  

In May 2019, the public had its opportunity to provide comments about the first Five Year Review.  Over 400 public comments were submitted, to which the Environment Department has provided written responses. 2021-07-09-MWL-RTC-table-5-yr-Review

On July 9th, 2021, the Environment Department approved the Five-Year Review without recommending either option outlined in its 2016 Final Order.  2021-07-09-NMED-approves-Five-Year-Report-for-Mixed-Waste-Landfill

For more information, please visit Citizen Action New Mexico at https://radfreenm.org/  and watch the new informative video about Sandia’s Mixed Waste Landfill Facts, with Eileen O’Shaughnessy of the Nuclear Issues Study Group, Dave McCoy of Citizen Action New Mexico, and hosted by Robin Seydel. https://radfreenm.org/index.php


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

 

1.Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda. JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others.  We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

2.  EVENT MAY BE CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER:  Thursday, July 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 pm:  In-Person Open House for Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) Bulk Fuels Facility Remediation Project.  It will be held at the KAFB Groundwater Treatment System facility, located just inside the Ridgecrest Drive Gate near Bullhead Park.  Normal security procedures not required because this is a special event.  For more information, please contact Brannon Lamar, 377 Air Base Wing Public Affairs, at (505) 846-5991, or by email, brannon.lamar@us.af.mil.   GWTS22July2021OpenHouseINVITE.docx

 

 

3.  Wednesday, August 4th from 6 to 7:15 pm Santa Fe County Nuclear Waste Emergency Response Town Hall Meeting, with Santa Fe County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Anna Hamilton. Hondo 2 Fire Station, 645 Old Las Vegas Hwy., Santa Fe.

Town Hall Flyer 2-1

 

 

4.  Saturday, August 7th from 1 to 3 pm – Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration Event in Los Alamos, NM at Ashley Pond.  A two-hour vigil at the site of the first a-bomb’s creation to commemorate the bombings that fundamentally changed the world.   We must remind ourselves and others of the living hell created by that bomb in hopes that we can avoid any future use of such devices of death.  For more information, contact kenmayers@vfp-santafe.org

 

 

 5.  Sunday, August 8th from 2 – 9 pm – Taos August Peace Pilgrimage at Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM. Free and open to the public – films, forum and ceremony.  For more information and to view the agenda, please visit https://tcataos.org/calendar/#event=67243093;instance=20210808140000

 

This Weekend We Remember the Trinity Downwinders – Events in Tularosa and Mescalero

You are invited to three events to commemorate the long-lasting harm done by the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity site in south central New Mexico on July 16th, 1945.  The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, who seeks justice for the unknowing, unwilling, and uncompensated innocent victims of the Trinity test, organized the events.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

Tina Cordova, Co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, described the fallout from the secret U.S. government test.  She said, “For days, radioactive ash fell from the sky and settled on everything – the soil, in the water, in the air, on the plants and on the skin of every living things.  It was a public health disaster of grand proportions.”

On Saturday, July 17th, two important events will take place in Tularosa.  The first is an informative Town Hall Meeting, followed by the 12th Annual Candlelight Vigil.

The Town Hall Meeting will take place at the Tularosa Community Center, located at 1050 North Bookout Road between 2 and 4 pm.  Refreshments will be provided.  The main topic will be the progress being made by the U.S. Congress to amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include the Trinity Downwinders and Post ’71 uranium workers.  It sunsets in 2022.  https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca    

RECA is a federal program to provide compensation to Downwinders of the aboveground nuclear weapons test at the Nevada Test Site who contracted one or more of 22 listed cancers.  Passed into law in 1990, RECA has paid out over  $1.2 billion to Downwinders residing in certain counties in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, but nothing to the Trinity Downwinders.  In total, RECA has provided $2.5 billion in compensation to Downwinders, on-site nuclear weapons test participants, and uranium miners, millers and ore transporters.  https://www.justice.gov/civil/awards-date-07142021

The 12th Annual Candlelight Vigil will begin at 8 pm at the Tularosa Little League Field, located at 1407 La Luz Avenue, west of the Tularosa High School.  Gates open at 7:30 pm.  The Tularosa Downwinders will memorialize loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer and honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer by lighting luminarias with individual names written on the paper bags.

The Reverend Warren L. Robinson, Pastor of the Owen Chapel AME, or African Episcopal Methodist, Church, in Alamogordo, will offer the invocation.  https://ame-aznmd.org/directory/new-mexico-ame-churches/owen-chapel-ame/

On Sunday, July 18th, at 10:30 am, a special Mass dedicated to the Mescalero Downwinders will be held at St. Joseph Apache Mission Church, in Mescalero.  https://stjosephmission.org/

For more information, please visit trinitydownwinders.com.


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting!

 

 

1. Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda. JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others.  We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

2. A new informative video about Sandia’s Mixed Waste Landfill and its threats to Albuquerque’s groundwater, with Eileen O’Shaughnessy of the Nuclear Issues Study Group, Dave McCoy of Citizen Action New Mexico, and hosted by Robin Seydel, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfXwN2et6Dk   The IndyMedia Show produced the video.

 

 

3. Thursday, July 15th from 6 pm to Friday, July 16th around 6 pm, A Day of Prayer for Forgiveness and Protection, at the Stallion Gate Entrance to the White Sands Missile Range and the Trinity Site. July 16th is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, as well as the 76th year since the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity Site in New Mexico.

 

 

4. Thursday, July 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 pm: In-Person Open House for Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) Bulk Fuels Facility Remediation Project.  It will be held at the KAFB Groundwater Treatment System facility, located just inside the Ridgecrest Drive Gate near Bullhead Park.  Normal security procedures not required because this is a special event.  For more information, please contact Brannon Lamar, 377 Air Base Wing Public Affairs, at (505) 846-5991, or by email, brannon.lamar@us.af.mil.

Flyer: GWTS22July2021OpenHouseINVITE.docx

 

Virtual Public Hearing about New Mexico’s Water Quality Standards Begins on Tuesday, July 13th

If you live near or recreate on a New Mexico river, stream, or lake or irrigate from one, you may be concerned about its water quality.  The Clean Water Act requires states to review their surface water standards every three years to ensure they continue to protect water quality.  Thus the administrative process is called the Triennial Review.

On Tuesday, July 13th, the virtual public hearing about New Mexico’s water quality standards begins.  The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission is holding the hearing.  The Triennial Review process provides an opportunity for public input.  https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/2020-triennial-review/

The Communities for Clean Water (CCW) and the Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP) have prepared a fact sheet, talking points, a backgrounder about the Triennial Review, and a sample comment letter for creating your own comments. To access these four documents, see below or visit these websites  http://ccwnewmexico.org/ , and https://gilaresources.info/ .

Links to participate in the virtual hearing are found in the fact sheet.

CCW and GRIP have submitted written rebuttal testimony to challenge several changes to the standards proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the New Mexico Mining Association.

CCW and GRIP have put forward four rebuttal witnesses.  They are:  Elder Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez, the Sayain Project Coordinator and past Director of Tewa Women United; Pamela E. Homer, Environmental Scientist; Allyson Siwik, Executive Director of GRIP; and James R. Kuipers, Professional Engineer.  To review the rebuttal testimony, visit  https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc-20-51-r/ and scroll down to Items 34 and 35.

In their rebuttal, CCW and GRIP suggested changes to the proposed Environment Department’s definition of “contaminants of emerging concern.”  CCW and GRIP have proposed that these contaminants, such as PFAS, be named “emerging contaminants” and the proposed definition be expanded to state, “emerging contaminants are chemical compounds that, although suspected to potentially have adverse effects, may not have regulatory standards, and the concentrations to which adverse effects are observed may not have been fully studied.”  If the Water Quality Control Commission adopts the proposed language, the definition will be included in the standards and allow the Environment Department to begin setting standards for the contaminants.

Public comments will be accepted from 5 to 6 pm each day of the hearing.  Beginning on Wednesday, July 14th, public comment also will be accepted each day from 8 to 9 am. Use the chat function to sign up.  Five minutes have been allocated for each commenter.  Given the complexity of the issues, five minutes may not be enough time.  Please include this concern in your comments.  2021-06-24-WQCC-DRAFT-Agenda-for-2021-07-13-Triennial-Review-GC-1

CCW and GRIP are represented by Charlie deSaillan of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center.  https://nmelc.org

 


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

1. Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda. JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others. We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

2. Tuesday, July 13th to Friday, July 16th (and possibly beyond), Public Hearing about New Mexico’s Water Quality Standards. https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/2020-triennial-review/ and http://ccwnewmexico.org/

 

 

3. Wednesday, July 14th from 9 am to 12:20 pm and from 1 to 5 pm, New Mexico Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee Meeting at NMSU Carlsbad. Topics include:  in the morning:  Proposed Consolidated Interim Storage in SE NM, Permit Modifications and the Future of WIPP, Carlsbad Env’l Monitoring and Research Center – Research Projects and Monitoring of WIPP, after lunch:  Produced Water Issues In and Out of the Oil Field, Updates on Remediation of the Carlsbad Brine Well, and Briefing on New Mexico v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Public Comment at 3:30 pm for those present at the meeting.  Agenda and handouts available at:   https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC

 

 

4. Thursday, July 15th from 6 pm to Friday, July 16th around 6 pm, A Day of Prayer for Forgiveness and Protection, at the Stallion Gate Entrance to the White Sands Missile Range and the Trinity Site. July 16th is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, as well as the 76th year since the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity Site in New Mexico. Flyer- Day of Prayer July 15-16 2021 Invitation

 

 

5. Saturday, July 17thTularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) Town Hall Meeting and Candlelight Vigil in Tularosa. From 2 to 4 pm, the TBDC will host a Town Hall meeting to discuss the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) at the old Community Center, 1050 N. Bookout Road, Tularosa, NM. At 8 pm, the TBDC will host the 12th Annual Candlelight Vigil to memorialize loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer and honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer.  It will take place at the Tularosa Little League Field, 1407 LaLuz Avenue, Tularosa, NM.  Gates open at 7:30 pm.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/        

 

NGOs Sue DOE for Plutonium Pit Production Programmatic EIS

How many times do non-governmental organizations need to ask for the Department of Energy and its semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration to follow the law before they file a lawsuit?  Six.

Since 2019, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch, and Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, or Tri-Valley CARES, have contacted DOE about the need to prepare a new or supplemental programmatic environmental impact statement about its plans to quadruple production of plutonium pits at two of its sites.  Both Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Savannah River Site generate plutonium-contaminated wastes.  Both have plans to package, ship and dispose of that waste at the oversubscribed Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  DOE responded that it has met the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  https://www.scelp.org/news/us-pit-production-why-we-can-wait-and-why-we-should-wait

This week, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, https://gullahgeecheenation.com/gullahgeechee-sea-island-coalition/ , Nuclear Watch New Mexico, https://nukewatch.org/ , Savannah River Site Watch, https://srswatch.org/ , and Tri-Valley CARES, http://trivalleycares.org/ ,filed a lawsuit to compel DOE to prepare the required nationwide, or programmatic, Environmental Impact Statement, or PEIS, about its costly plans.  https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5f2c352f324853b8b51c50db/60db415102377c2070fd3b19_Complaint.pdf  To view the press conference:  https://www.facebook.com/scelp.org/

The South Carolina Environmental Law Project represents the plaintiffs.  Its mission is to “use our legal expertise to protect land, water, and communities across South Carolina.”  https://www.scelp.org/ , https://www.scelp.org/cases/plutonium-pits

The complaint says, “DOE[]’s plan to drastically expand this production program both in total number of pits and in the number of production [] locations will saddle the already-burdened communities represented by Plaintiff groups with a significant amount of nuclear waste and pollution that is in complete contravention to the President’s Executive Order on Environmental Justice.”  https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5f2c352f324853b8b51c50db/60db415102377c2070fd3b19_Complaint.pdf , ¶7, p. 4.

Queen Quet, the Chieftess and head of state for the Gullah/Geechee Nation and the founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, one of the Plaintiffs, explained why the Coalition joined the lawsuit.  The Nation’s People and lands are recognized as a National Heritage Area spanning the offshore barrier islands and coastal lands in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  The People are the descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the isolated islands, who created a unique culture with deep African roots.  The Savannah River flows across their lands to the Atlantic Ocean carrying DOE contaminants.  https://www.nps.gov/subjects/heritageareas/discover-nhas.htm

Queen Quet, said, “The Gullah/Geechee Nation is concerned about the further degradation at the Savannah River Site given that what takes place there has the potential of seeping not only into the waterway which eventually makes it way to the Gullah/Geechee Nation, but the pollutants that are produced by creating plutonium pits literally seeps into the bodies of people.  The people of South Carolina are more valuable than plutonium and we shouldn’t have to use our energy in being pitted against a government agency! We need to protect our communities and this is best done when there is transparency in the process concerning any land use. The public should be able to fully engage in determining what happens to the land and to the environment because this will have irreversible impacts on our quality of life.  We are digging for the truth about the impacts that this proposal will have on the environment, on us and our communities!”


 

1. Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda. JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others.  We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

 2. Tuesday, July 13th, Public Hearing about New Mexico’s Water Quality Standards. https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/2020-triennial-review/

 

 

 3. Wednesday, July 14th, New Mexico Interim Legislative Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee Meeting in Carlsbad, NM. https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=RHMC

 

 

4. MARK YOUR CALENDAR!  Saturday, July 17th – Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) Town Hall Meeting and Candlelight Vigil in Tularosa.  From 2 to 4 pm, the TBDC will host a Town Hall meeting to discuss the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) at the old Community Center.  At 8 pm, the TBDC will host the 12th Annual Candlelight Vigil to memorialize loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer and honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer.  It will take place at the Tularosa Little League Field.  Gates open at 7:30 pm.  Stay tuned for more details.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

 

New Mexico Governor Petitions EPA to List PFAS Chemicals as Hazardous Waste

What power does a Governor have to address toxic chemicals found in her state?  In this case, PFAS chemicals detected at Department of Defense and Department of Energy sites in New Mexico.  State Governors have special statutory authority to petition the Administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify or list a material as a hazardous waste.  New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham did just that this week when she petitioned EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan to list per- and poly-fluorinated substances, or PFAS, as a class of toxic chemicals.  2021-06-23-Governor-letter-to-EPA-for-PFAS-petition

Her petition, filed under the federal hazardous waste law, declared, “PFAS chemicals present an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment.”  Importantly, under the law, EPA is required to respond to the petition within 90 days, or on or before September 21st.

Governor Lujan Grisham referenced two highly technical petitions from the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility that were also filed with the EPA Administrator.  UC Berkeley EJ Clinic pfas_petition_for_haz_waste_jan_2020_metadata_added and https://www.peer.org/groups-petition-epa-to-regulate-pfas-waste/

Here in New Mexico, Lake Holloman, about a mile from Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamogordo, is contaminated with two individual PFAS, called PFOA and PFOS.  EPA’s health advisory sets an exposure limit of 70 parts per trillion.  To comprehend the toxicity of PFAS chemicals, one part per trillion is equivalent to one second in 32,000 years.

Astronomical levels of PFOA were detected in Lake Holloman, as high as 5,900,000 parts per trillion, which is more than 84,000 times the EPA’s health advisory.  PFOS were detected at 1,600,000 parts per trillion, more than 22,000 times the EPA’s exposure limit.  Governor’s Petition, p. 3.

The Governor’s petition is an important step to protect and cleanup New Mexico’s waters.

In related news, the virtual public hearing before the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission to review New Mexico’s Surface Water Quality Standards begins on Tuesday, July 13th.  The Clean Water Act requires states to review their surface water standards every three years, thus the administrative process is called the Triennial Review.  Monitoring for PFAS chemicals is part of the review.  https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/2020-triennial-review/

Significantly, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), through the Department of Energy and its contractor, Triad National Security, LLC, has petitioned the Water Quality Control Commission to limit the definition of “toxic pollutants.”  https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc-20-51-r/  If approved, LANL would be allowed to evade all monitoring of PFAS chemicals, and would eliminate New Mexico’s authority to protect surface waters.  The Governor’s Environment Department opposes the LANL petition.

To learn more about the Triennial Review and how you can help protect New Mexico’s waters, please visit the Communities for Clean Water website at http://ccwnewmexico.org/


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

1. TODAY! Th. June 24th from 5:30 to 7 pm – NM Environmental Law Center Environmental Justice Series about Water Contamination in Northern New Mexico with the Communities for Clean Water (CCW).   CCW’s mission is to ensure that community waters impacted by LANL are kept safe for drinking, agriculture, sacred ceremonies, and a sustainable future.  CCNS is a founding member of CCW.  https://nmelc.org/  To register:  https://nmelc-ejseries-ccw.eventbrite.com  

 

 

 2. Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda.  JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others.  We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

3. Sat. June 26th from 9 to 11 am MDT webinar – Pressuring the Nuclear Weapons Profiteers with divestment, direct action, media, and international law. Speakers and Facilitators:  Susi Snyder, Don’t Bank on the Bomb, Nick Cantrell, Green Future Wealth Management, and Vicki Elson, Treaty Alignment Campaign.  CCNS is a co-sponsor of the webinar.  REGISTER HERE or https://masspeaceaction.org/event/pressuring-the-nuclear-weapons-profiteers/

 

 

4. MARK YOUR CALENDAR!  Saturday, July 17thTularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) Town Hall Meeting and Candlelight Vigil in Tularosa.  From 2 to 4 pm, the TBDC will host a Town Hall meeting to discuss the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) at the old Community Center.  At 8 pm, the TBDC will host the 12th Annual Candlelight Vigil to memorialize loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer and honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer.  It will take place at the Tularosa Little League Field.  Gates open at 7:30 pm.  Stay tuned for more details.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

 

Biden-Putin Geneva Summit and Future Arms Control Dialogue

The presidents of the United States of America and Russia met for several hours on Wednesday, June 16th, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland.  They discussed a number of matters, including cyber security, human rights, and “strategic stability,” or arms control.  Strategic stability is defined as no first use of nuclear weapons and no build up of nuclear forces.  The two countries possess 91 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.  https://fas.org/issues/nuclear-weapons/status-world-nuclear-forces/

Acknowledging the two countries’ progress towards arms control, including the recent five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START Treaty, the two presidents agreed to create a bilateral Strategy Stability Dialogue.  The goal of the dialogue would lead to arms control and risk reduction measures.

Together, the two presidents released a three paragraph U.S. – Russia Presidential Joint Statement on Strategic Stability, which reads:

“We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war.

“The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

“Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust. Through this Dialogue, we seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/16/u-s-russia-presidential-joint-statement-on-strategic-stability/

During their individual press conferences following the meeting, the presidents committed to ongoing consultations and dialogue about what comes after New START and to control new and more dangerous nuclear weapons that by reducing response time, raises the risk of accidental war.  http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/65870 and  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/06/16/remarks-by-president-biden-in-press-conference-4/

In response, Beatrice Fihn, of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, stated, “While we support this diplomatic initiative, we need to see more substantial progress from the leaders with the world’s two biggest nuclear arsenals on reducing their nuclear arsenals and moving to join the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”  https://www.icanw.org/

Joni Arends, of CCNS, asked, in light of the presidents’ commitments, when, in Northern New Mexico, will a Strategic Stability Dialogue begin about how to transition from its dependence on nearly $3 billion a year to fabricate more plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  She said, “It’s time.”  http://nuclearactive.org/


We are Podcasting! 

 

1. Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda.  JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others.  We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

2. Th. June 24th from 5:30 to 7 pm – NM Environmental Law Center Environmental Justice Series about Water Contamination in Northern New Mexico with the Communities for Clean Water (CCW). CCW’s mission is to ensure that community waters impacted by LANL are kept safe for drinking, agriculture, sacred ceremonies, and a sustainable future.  CCNS is a founding member of CCW.  https://nmelc.org/  To register:  https://nmelc-ejseries-ccw.eventbrite.com  

 

 

3. Sat. June 26th from 9 to 11 am MDT webinar – Pressuring the Nuclear Weapons Profiteers with divestment, direct action, media, and international law. Speakers and Facilitators:  Susi Snyder, Don’t Bank on the Bomb, Nick Cantrell, Green Future Wealth Management, and Vicki Elson, Treaty Alignment Campaign.  CCNS is a co-sponsor of the webinar.  REGISTER HERE or https://masspeaceaction.org/event/pressuring-the-nuclear-weapons-profiteers/

 

 

 4. MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Saturday, July 17thTularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) Town Hall Meeting and Candlelight Vigil in Tularosa.  In the afternoon, the TBDC will host a Town Hall meeting to discuss the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) at the old Community Center.  In the evening, the TBDC host the 12th Annual Candlelight Vigil to memorialize loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer and honor those who are living with or who have survived cancer.  It will take place at the Tularosa Little League Field.  Stay tuned for more details.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

 

 

Clean Water Act Action Needed on Contaminants of Emerging Concern and Persistent Toxic Pollutants

As drought continues, the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission will take up important regulatory water issues, including how to define the two phrases, contaminants of emerging concern and persistent toxic pollutants.  An unfortunate principle in water regulation is dilution is the solution to pollution.  During drought, when there is less water to dilute pollutants, concentrations increase and cause harm.

The Clean Water Act requires states to review their water quality standards every three years.  The process is called the Triennial Review.  Unfortunately, the Triennial Review process takes longer than three years to complete.  For example, the last Triennial Review took seven years to wrap up and the one before that took nine.  Such delays result in fewer reviews.  During this time, three more reviews could have been done.  Such delays benefit the regulated community because more protective regulations are not debated and possibly approved.

The next Triennial Review public hearing begins on Tuesday, July 13th.  The industries challenging the proposed pollutant definitions are the New Mexico Mining Association, the San Juan Water Commission, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Those supporting the proposed definitions are Amigos Bravos, Communities for Clean Water, the Gila Resources Information Project, and the Buckman Direct Diversion Board.  There will be opportunities for the public to provide comments before and during the multi-day virtual hearing.  https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc-20-51-r/

Emerging and persistent pollutants are suspected of causing harm to the ecology and human health, but have not been thoroughly studied to establish regulatory standards.  Contaminants of emerging concern include chemical compounds found in pharmaceuticals and personal care products.  https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc-20-51-r/ See Pleading Log No. 6, NMED’s March 12, 2021 Notice of Amended Petition for proposed definition at 20.6.4.7.C(7), p. 3. Persistent toxic pollutants are those that resist degradation, easily bioaccumulate, and harm aquatic life and human health.  https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc-20-51-r/  See Pleading Log No. 6, NMED’s March 12, 2021 Notice of Amended Petition for proposed definition at 20.6.4.7.P(3), p. 5.

One class of the persistent pollutants is PFASs, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.  PFASs have been around since the 1940s and are found in Teflon and in military-grade fire retardants.  It is estimated there are between 5,000 and 10,000 individual PFASs.  https://www.env.nm.gov/pfas/main/

In New Mexico, there are large PFASs groundwater plumes at Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases.  https://www.env.nm.gov/pfas/main/  Most New Mexicans rely on groundwater for their drinking water.   

This week the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing about “PFAS:  The View from Affected Citizens and States” to learn what citizens and states need from the federal government to address them.  New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney provided written and verbal testimony.  He stated that people must be protected from drinking contaminated water and urged the Environmental Protection Agency to establish national drinking water standards for PFASs.  The archived webcast and written testimony is available at:  https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2021/6/pfas-the-view-from-affected-citizens-and-states

Debate about whether New Mexico would adopt them could occur in the next Triennial Review.


Did You Know?  We are Podcasting! 

 

1.  Every Friday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself “permanently” in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda.  JOIN Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, and others.  We’ll have banners.  Please bring a sign.

 

 

2.  Wednesday, June 16th from 2 to 4 pm – Individual Stormwater Permit for LANL Virtual Public Meeting. Presentations by Communities for Clean Water and N3B about Draft Permit Update and Monitoring Plan Overview, Proposal for Site-specific Copper Water Quality Criteria, and Enhanced Controls – 2021 Plans.  The last 30 minutes is devoted to Questions & Answers.  LANL is required under the Settlement Agreement with the Communities for Clean Water (CCW) to hold semi-annual public meetings about its implementation and compliance with the EPA permit.  https://ext.em-la.doe.gov/ips

 

 

3.  Th. June 24th from 5:30 to 7 pm – NM Environmental Law Center Environmental Justice Series about Radiation Contamination in Northern New Mexico with the Communities for Clean Water. CCW’s mission is to ensure that community waters impacted by LANL are kept safe for drinking, agriculture, sacred ceremonies, and a sustainable future.  To register:  https://nmelc-ejseries-ccw.eventbrite.com