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G2. Local Greens

Winston-Salem Weaver fire air quality worse than reported by agencies

Aug. 03, 2022: The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has released a report which shows that hazardous air quality during the Weaver Fertilizer Plant fire was downplayed.
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Sea Level Rise Art Exhibit and Events, November 29 – January 26

Sunflower Alliance - Sun, 11/27/2022 - 11:58
Large, door-size acrylic paintings by local artist Jennifer Koney capture abstract images of the 55″ sea level rise already caused by climate change. See the exhibit at the Hayward Library, and check out these related events. Artmaking as a Doorway to Climate Activism, a talk by the artist. WHEN Saturday, December 3, 1 – 3 … Read more
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Building a Resilient and Equitable Grid, December 7

Sunflower Alliance - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 13:51

Retiring fossil fuels means we’ll need more and more electricity — so it’s crucial that the electric grid be not only clean, but reliable and just. Join The Climate Center for Building a Resilient and Equitable Grid for the Future, the second in their series, Envisioning a Climate-Safe California: Stories and Solutions.

The webinar … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

First Nations, Bimblebox win in court decision against Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Mine

Lock the Gate Alliance - Thu, 11/24/2022 - 20:55

Today’s Land Court decision against Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project will have welcome, far reaching consequences for all planned new coal mines in Queensland, say Lock the Gate Alliance and Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

BREDL requests FERC to deny MVP an extension of time

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League - Thu, 11/24/2022 - 17:24
Jul. 26, 2022: In our comments submitted to FERC, BREDL: (1) Requests that FERC deny request from Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP, LLC) for an extension of time until October 13, 2026 to complete construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) (2) In the event that MVP, LLC is granted an extension of time to complete construction of the MVP, BREDL requests that --revised Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) and Stormwater Management (SWM) plans for the MVP be a condition of the requested extension --consideration of cumulative aquatic impacts of building both the MVP and the Southgate extension be a condition of the requested extension
Categories: G2. Local Greens

So-called “missing link” gas pipeline would carve through Pilliga, farmland

Lock the Gate Alliance - Wed, 11/23/2022 - 21:43

Newly released plans by Santos for a “Narrabri Lateral Pipeline” which would connect its gasfield to the company's proposed Hunter Gas Pipeline at Baan Baa reveal it would clear a 30km swathe through the Pilliga Forest and impact multiple properties along its 60km route.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

We have never needed you more

Ontario Clean Air Alliance - Wed, 11/23/2022 - 13:36

Please click here to make a donation nowWe had a fabulous turn out for our webinar on using heat pumps last night. The interest among Ontarians in acting to save our climate has never been stronger. Which makes it even more frustrating that our provincial government is missing in action in the fight against climate

The post We have never needed you more appeared first on Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Fossil Fuel Polluters, Pay Up! November 28

Sunflower Alliance - Tue, 11/22/2022 - 19:13

Join a statewide day of distributed action to support the California bill that would put a cap on Big Oil’s windfall profits– and to shift the narrative by pointing to the real reason for high gas prices: the greed of oil profiteers.

Last Chance Alliance will hold actions all day at big brand-name gas stations … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Groups Appeal PADEP’s Extension of Illegal Power Plant Air Permit

Clean Air Ohio - Tue, 11/22/2022 - 10:44

RENOVO, PA (November 22, 2022) – Today, Clean Air Council, PennFuture, and the Center for Biological Diversity appealed an extension of Renovo Energy Center’s air pollution permit for a large gas-fired power plant — a significant source of new pollution within an environmental justice area. The extension by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) allows the power plant developer an additional 18 months to build the North-Central Pennsylvania power plant. DEP originally permitted the gas-fired plant in April 2021, but Renovo Energy Center has failed to secure financing to move forward. 

This extension comes amid an ongoing appeal by the same groups, challenging the power plant’s air permit, which DEP extended in October. In August, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ruled in favor of the groups in that appeal, finding that DEP set pollution limits too high for two harmful pollutants. That legal challenge continues toward trial on other claims. Still, rather than allow the illegal permit to lapse, DEP sent Renovo Energy Center a letter granting the requested extension. DEP did nothing to alter or fix the illegal permit. In their Notice of Appeal, the environmental groups object that the extension is illegal because the permit it extends is illegal and the requirements for an extension were not met.

Renovo is an environmental justice area located along the West Branch Susquehanna River. The permit authorizes the plant to emit hundreds of tons of noxious pollutants annually and more greenhouse gases than the City of Pittsburgh. Pollution from the power plant would impose a cost of billions of dollars in impacts to health and communities over the course of its lifetime. The power plant is being developed by Bechtel Corporation, a Virginia-based multinational engineering corporation.

“Extending a permit that judges just found to be illegal is a slap in the face to residents of Clinton County and to the rule of law,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council, on behalf of all three environmental groups filing this appeal. “Why in the world would DEP break the law just to ensure that a giant fossil fuel power plant can dirty the community’s air? Renewable energy is cleaner, cheaper, and more abundant.”

###

Clean Air Council is a member-supported, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone’s right to a healthy environment. The Council has offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilmington, and works through public education, community advocacy, and government oversight to ensure enforcement of environmental laws. For more information, please visit www.cleanair.org.

PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. Visit www.pennfuture.org.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Pojoaque Author Myrriah Gomez To Attend Special Book Signing Event For Her Book ‘Nuclear Nuevo Mexico’ At Fuller Lodge Tuesday Evening

La Jicarita - Tue, 11/22/2022 - 06:09

Reprinted with permission from Los Alamos Reporter


BY MAIRE O’NEILL
maire@losalamosreporter.com

“The bean plants were this high,” Ruben ‘Ruby’ Shirley said, holding her hands about a foot apart, “when the government came in their jeeps and ran all over the plants.” At 92 year old, Ruby explains that her parents, Jose Maria and Delfina Serna, were one of the Nuevomexicana/o families who lost their ranch atop the Pajarito Plateau during the period of eminent domain that led to the development of Site Y of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Before the atomic bomb, before Site Y and before Nuevomexicanas/os became alienated from the plateau in the name of science, Los Alamos had bean fields. During the 1920s and 1930s, New Mexico was the leading pinto bean producer in the country.” …. In 1943, with little warning, the federal government forced them to abandon their homestead, including their farm implements, and vacate the plateau.”

The above excerpt is from the book “Nuclear Nuevo Mexico” by Myrriah Gomez on colonialism and the effects of the Nuclear Industrial Complex on Nuevomexicanos. The book is being read by book clubs in Los Alamos and is selling well at Samizdat Bookstore and Teashop at 173 Central Square where owner Jill Lang is gearing up for a special book signing event Tuesday evening at Fuller Lodge. Lang has copies of the book at Samizdat and is accepting preorders online for readers to pick up at the event.

Author Myrriah Gomez, who is a graduate of Pojoaque Valley High School and serves as a professor at the Honors College of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. which will include enchiladas from El Parasol. Gomez will speak about the book and answer questions from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Then at 7 p.m. she will sign copies of her book while coffee and biscochitos are served.

For more information, contact Jill Lang at admin@samizdatbookstore.com or call (505) 412-0238. Samizdat is located at 174 Central Park Square in Los Alamos.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

A gas leak at Cambria County storage site has been plugged

Allegheny Front - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 15:10

A gas leak at a Cambria County underground natural gas storage site has been plugged, according to its owner. It had been venting gas since Nov. 6.

The post A gas leak at Cambria County storage site has been plugged appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Alert! Press Release for Mountain View Coalition Win

La Jicarita - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 13:00

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 21, 2022

MOUNTAIN VIEW COALITION & NMELC 
ANNOUNCES THE FILING OF OUR HISTORIC
“HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT & EQUITY REGULATION” 
TO THE ABQ-BERNCO AIR QUALITY CONTROL BOARD

WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE

WHENMONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2022 AT 2PM

WHERE: MOUNTAIN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER, 201 PROSPERITY AVENUE SE, ALBUQUERQUE NM 87105, (OUTSIDE). The press conference will also be live-streamed at https://www.facebook.com/NMELC

WHO: Organized by Mountain View Coalition & New Mexico Environmental Law Center, with support from community allies

WHYMountain View Coalition & New Mexico Environmental Law Center will announce their historic filing on Monday, November 21, 2022 of our “HEALTH,  ENVIRONMENT & EQUITY IMPACTS DRAFT REGULATION” to the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County AIR QUALITY CONTROL BOARD.

____________________________________________________

Media Contacts:

Marla Painter, Mountain View Community Action, (505) 220-3969, marladesk@gmail.com

Lauro Silva, Mountain View Neighborhood Association, (505) 720-4539,  alcoatl944@gmail.com

David Barber Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, (505) 400-4381, david@friendsofvalledeoro.org

Nora Garcia, Mountain View Neighborhood Association, (505) 414-1621, ngarcia49@yahoo.com

Eric Jantz, NMELC Senior Staff Attorney, (505) 750-3027, (505) 989-9022 ext. 120, ejantz@nmelc.org

Maslyn Locke, NMELC Staff Attorney, (505) 989-9022, mlocke@nmelc.org

____________________________________________________

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Mountain View Coalition members—Mountain View Neighborhood Association, Mountain View Community Action & Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge—and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center will file their historic Health, Environment & Equity Impacts draft regulation to the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board on Monday, November 21st. 

At 2pm on Monday, Nov. 21st, Mountain View Coalition, NMELC and community allies will gather at the Mountain View Community Center, 201 Prosperity Avenue SE, Albuquerque NM, to celebrate this historic moment in the long struggle for environmental justice in frontline impacted communities. 

NMELC Senior Staff attorney Eric Jantz and Mountain View Coalition members will be on hand to speak about the draft regulation and to answer questions from the media. Copies of the draft regulation will be available at the event. The draft will not be made public until after the filing to the Air Quality Control Board on Monday, Nov. 21st. Community members and allies have been invited to come in support with signs. See attached flyer.

Quotes

“The Cumulative Impact Draft Regulation was drafted to resolve extensive pollution problems in the Mountain View area. Residents here suffer from disproportionate levels of health problems including cancer, asthma, cardio-vascular and other respiratory diseases related to excessive cumulative emissions from Industry, truck traffic exhaust and others. We are hoping this regulation will help stop the asphalt assault on our community.”

—Nora Garcia, 

President, 

Mountain View Neighborhood Association

“This regulation is a breakthrough for the people of the Mountain View Neighborhood. We have withstood years of the harmful impacts of industrial activity within a primarily Hispanic and Chicano community, once full of small farms, with a school that is more than 100 years old and on lands where Pueblo people have lived for thousands of years. More recently, the Mountain View community has resisted unjust industrial development in our neighborhood, but our voices have been ignored. Most elected officials turned their backs on us; they thought of us as a ‘throw-away community.’

With this regulation, our burden may begin to lighten. It is not the answer to all our environmental burdens, but it is a significant, important beginning. If we are protected from excessive air permits, we will also be saved from further water pollution, noise, excessive night lighting, and the ugly blight accompanying irresponsible industrial activity. And it will benefit all of the neighborhoods in Bernalillo County that suffer from disproportionate industrial and transportation-based pollution burdens, not just Mountain View. This is the first step toward justice and equity in the struggle for the health and well-being of all people in Bernalillo County.”

—Marla Painter, Chair, 

Mountain View Community Action

“All of us at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center stand proudly with our clients, the Mountain View Coalition, in filing our Health, Environment, and Equity Impacts Regulation to petition the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board (AQCB) to formally adopt this much needed regulation that will finally provide greater protection to all of the overburdened environmental justice communities throughout Bernalillo County who continue to be disproportionately impacted by polluting industries. The filing of this regulation is historic not just for Bernalillo County, but for our entire state. We are hopeful that the AQCB will do the right thing for our communities and ensure that this vital regulation be adopted in a timely and just manner.”

—Virginia Necochea, 

Executive Director, 

New Mexico Environmental Law Center

“The Friends of Valle de Oro is dedicated to environmental justice and health, not just for our human neighbors but also for our wildlife kin. Environmental justice and equity practices are ingrained in the daily activities, programs, and operations of our work here. This draft regulation is critical to the health and wellbeing of everyone in Albuquerque but especially those overburdened by a disproportionate concentration of toxic air emissions. We believe this regulation could have a tremendous impact on environmental and human health.”  

—Katie Dix

Executive Director

Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge

“We are proud to stand with community members who have been fighting against disproportionate environmental and health burdens for decades. Efforts to pass a cumulative impacts regulation began at least as far back as 2005 under the administration of Mayor Marty Chavez. A task force was created and after 3 years of work on a draft regulation,  the government actively undermined it, and it never went anywhere. Then in 2013 we worked with the SouthWest Organizing Project and East San Jose on a draft cumulative impacts regulation, but the Air Board refused to even hold a public hearing on it. So far the current Air Board has demonstrated an interest in equity, and this could be the most important equity regulation considered by the Air Board  in its history.”

—Eric Jantz, Senior Staff Attorney

New Mexico Environmental Law Center

“For multiple decades our communities in the South Valley have been subjected to racist policies that have seriously affected the health and welfare of our people. The lifespan of someone in the South Valley is 20 years less than someone who lives in the North East Heights as a result of multiple factors including the concentration of toxic chemicals in the air due to contaminating industry in the neighborhood and governmental policies. Eighty to 86% of the affected community in the South Valley is Chicano/Hispanic or Latino. However we all live in the same airshed in Bernalillo County. We are putting forward this Health, Environment & Equity Regulation to the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board as a way to address this long history of injustice.”

—Lauro Silva

Board Member,

Mountain View Neighborhood Association

Categories: G2. Local Greens

New Website Presents Long-Hidden Refinery Emissions Data

Sunflower Alliance - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 13:50

An exciting new website allows refinery communities across the country to finally access air quality data that refiners and government regulators have been putting out of reach.  Launched this last week,  RefineryAirWatch.org is a collaboration between the Fair Tech Collective founded by Dr. Gwen Ottinger, graphic design firm SAYGRID, and a coalition of residents

Read more
Categories: G2. Local Greens

COP27: historic deal on climate loss and damage but 1.5C limit “on life support”

DRILL OR DROP? - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 12:53

The COP27 climate conference ended in Egypt today with a landmark agreement to compensate poorer countries that are the victims of climate change. But there was little progress in tacking emissions from burning fossil fuels, the root cause of global warming.

COP27 reaches agreement on a loss and damage fund. Photo: Kiara Worth

For the first time in nearly 30 years of climate talks, developed countries agreed to a loss and damage fund that would contribute to the cost of rescuing poorer countries in the front line of climate change.

But there was no commitment in the final text to phase out all fossil fuels.

Alok Sharma, the UK government’s negotiator at COP27, said the limit of 1.5C in global warming “remained on life support”.

The talks overran by two days.

On the final day, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, welcomed what he called “an important step towards justice” in the loss and damage fund. But he said “our planet is still in the emergency room:

“We need to drastically reduce emissions now – and this is an issue this COP did not address.

“A fund for loss and damage is essential – but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map – or turns an entire African country to desert.

“The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition. The red line we must not cross is the line that takes our planet over the 1.5 degree temperature limit.

“To have any hope of keeping to 1.5, we need to massively invest in renewables and end our addiction to fossil fuels.

“We must avoid an energy scramble in which developing countries finish last – as they did in the race for COVID-19 vaccines. Doubling down on fossil fuels is double trouble.”

Alok Sharma, president of last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, said:

“those of us who came to Egypt to keep 1.5 degrees alive, and to respect what every single one of us agreed to in Glasgow, have had to fight relentlessly to hold the line. We have had to battle to build on one of the key achievements of Glasgow.”

He said many parties had proposed measures to take “definitive steps forward”:

“Emissions peaking before 2025, as the science tells us is necessary. Not in this text.

“Clear follow-through on the phase down of coal. Not in this text.

“A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. Not in this text.

“And the energy text, weakend, in the final minutes.

“Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately, it remains on life support.”

Former US vice-president Al Gore, described the loss damage fund was “historic and morally justice”. But he said:

“The credibility of the outcome at COP27 rests upon the actions that leaders must take to rapidly reduce emissions by moving away from all fossil fuels and refusing to accept false solutions that perpetuate climate chaos.”

Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, said in the closing hours:

“Too many parties are not ready to make more progress today in the fight against the climate crisis.

“There were too many attempts to roll back what we agreed in Glasgow. This deal is not enough [on cutting emissions].”

He said the EU was disappointed that it did not achieve more in the text on the 1.5C limit.

“We have all fallen short.”

“The world will not thank us when they hear only excuses tomorrow”, he said.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the loss of damage fund but criticised COP27’s failure to agree on drastic reductions in emissions.

Katie White, executive director of advocacy at WWF, said the loss and damage deal “risks becoming a down-payment on disaster unless emissions are urgently cut in line with the 1.5°C goal”. She said failure to include a new pledge to phase down” oil and gas “put our health and security at risk”.

Yeb Saño, executive director at Greenpeace Southeast Asia said:

“a large number of countries from north and south voiced their strong support for phasing out all fossil fuels…but they were ignored by the Egyptian COP Presidency. Petro-states and a small army of fossil fuel lobbyists were out in force in Sharm el-Sheikh to make sure that it did not happen.”

Rachel Kennerly, international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said:

“the rich, industrialised countries worked hard to avoid ending their addiction to coal, oil and gas – instead favouring dangerous and ineffective distractions, like offsetting, over cutting emissions.

“Accelerating energy efficiency programmes and fast-tracking green energy are not only good for the environment, they will also help build the clean, fair and prosperous economies of tomorrow. 

“And with the world on a climate change collision course, we don’t have time to waste.”

She described the loss and damage fund as an “important step forward in re-addressing the balance between those that have done the most to cause climate change and those least responsible but who suffer the worst impacts”. She said:

“Wealthy countries must now support the setting up of this fund – and crucially its financing – to ensure it reaches the frontline communities hardest hit by the climate crisis. Countries like the UK must now provide the necessary cash, and ensure the scheme isn’t undermined by nations trying to avoid their obligations.”

Mary Church, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“The hypocrisy we witnessed at these climate talks from rich historical polluters on the issue of fossil fuel phase out is staggering. There is nothing to stop countries from phasing out fossil fuels, and yet the UK and the US in particular are doing the opposite with their vast expansion plans.

“Alok Sharma must take his table thumping on fossil fuel phase out back home and demand the UK Government overturn their climate trashing plans for North Sea oil and gas expansion and to reject the new coal mine planned in Cumbria.”

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Sign Petition to Stop OAK Expansion

Sunflower Alliance - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 11:31

The Port of Oakland is proposing 17 new gates at the Oakland Airport, and a Draft Environmental Impact Report will be released in the first quarter of 2023.  Please sign this petition to the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners and relevant elected officials to voice your concerns about this proposed contribution to climate breakdown

Read more
Categories: G2. Local Greens

CA Climate Plan: Better/Not Good Enough, November 30

Sunflower Alliance - Sat, 11/19/2022 - 15:11

After a strong campaign by environmental/climate justice advocates, the California Air Resources Board made major improvements to its proposed five-year climate plan. But the plan still calls for massive investments in false climate solutions, especially carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and hydrogen produced from fossil fuel, which would undermine progress toward reductions in greenhouse gases … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Public Comment by Suzanne Schwartz of Norteños for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures

La Jicarita - Sat, 11/19/2022 - 08:55

Dear Editor:

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) held a public hearing in Santa Fe on November 16, with the goal of gathering information regarding legacy cleanup activities, nuclear safety, and increased production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

The DNFSB is an independent organization within the executive branch of the US Government chartered with the responsibility of providing recommendations and advice to the President and the Secretary of Energy regarding public health and safety issues at Department of Energy (DOE) defense nuclear facilities.

Although the Board does not have policy-making authority, it is an extremely important agency. Some of us remember the Trump administration’s failed efforts to eviscerate the Board. The public was invited to comment at the meeting or by submitting written comments. My comment to the Board is as follows for anyone who may be interested.

Thank you!

November 16, 2022

Dear Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board:

I want to express my appreciation for the work the DNFSB conducts as the only independent agency with access to the United States National Laboratories. Thank you for conducting this hearing. I hope there will be more frequent hearings as Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) attempts to expand its plutonium missions.

As a United States citizen, and taxpaying member of the public, I am writing to express my concerns about the safety of ongoing and planned expansion of nuclear weapons activities at LANL.

These activities include multiple shift industrial-scale plutonium pit production, surplus plutonium disposition, and receipt and packaging of large amounts of heat source plutonium, all to take place at PF-4 (Plutonium Facility).

From time to time, newspapers publish articles about numerous kinds of safety breaches that are of concern, often well after the fact. Sometimes letters to the editor are published in local media on safety issues at the laboratory as well.

The New Mexico Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee meets at least annually for briefings on LANL activities. The most recent meeting was on Monday, November 14. The Committee heard testimony on many of the same concerns that have been recently voiced by the Safety Board, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), and from independent experts such as the Los Alamos Study Group.

In June 2022 the GAO issued the second of two reports citing improvements in safety and other areas and also outlining challenges that still remain since the new contractor, Triad LLC, took over operations back in 2018. The challenges that remain do not inspire confidence nearly four years into a ten-year contract. The GAO report states that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) cited numerous operational incidents, such as injuries and a flood in a nuclear facility, indicating that lessons learned from errors under the prior contractor have not been fully integrated into laboratory operations.

The report summary goes on to cite challenges Triad LLC is facing in attracting new staff and small businesses due to Los Alamos’s remote location and the “unique nature” of LANL’s work. The report summary also mentions LANL’s need to expand its workforce due to NNSA’s planned expansion of plutonium pit production and other operations at LANL.

On the workforce problem, LANL is partnering with Northern New Mexico universities, colleges, and high schools to build what it calls its “nuclear workforce pipeline.” According to the Glassdoor website, LANL currently has 965 job openings. It seems as if LANL is struggling to recruit the people it needs to build the infrastructure, work the gloveboxes, and handle the radioactive and toxic waste resulting from plutonium operations.

Additionally, in reading a number of employee reviews, both pro and con, written by current and former LANL employees from many different departments, I noticed numerous references to the remote location, various housing and commuting difficulties, and upper management problems. I feel it is very important to closely examine how these types of factors affect the safety of expanding plutonium operations at LANL at all levels, from construction to waste generation and handling.

As you know, the Safety Board wrote a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Granholm on August 11, 2022 that outlined its concerns about heat source plutonium operations and cited plans for triple missions operations at PF-4. This informative report is alarming and indicates how little we see reported in the news media.

An example I find particularly worrisome in your letter is that NNSA has, as far as a layperson can tell, downgraded plans for upgrading a ventilation system that seems a crucial component of fire prevention techniques, as described here: “NNSA has recently changed its strategy to upgrade the active confinement ventilation system to achieve a ‘robust’ system rather than a safety class, seismically qualified system, contrary to the Board’s advice.” (Emphasis added) The best possible ventilation system seems like it should be a no-brainer for NNSA in the interest of the workers, the public, and its national security missions.

Finally, I just discovered an October 20, 2022 letter from the Safety Board to Secretary Granholm informing her of several overdue reports and stating that DOE hasn’t consistently provided reports by the Board’s requested due date or even given written notice requesting additional time for reporting by the due dates, thereby affecting the Board’s safety oversight. Included in the list of overdue reporting are:

• A report on analysis performed by LANL on Board Technical Report 44, Plutonium Facility Leak Pathway Factor Methodology, which was due on Sept. 12.

• A written response on implementation of the un-reviewed safety question process following a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis update, originally due August 1, 2022 and extended by a DOE letter for 45 days on August 20, 2022. This is from a Board letter dated way back on June 16, 2022.

The letter concludes very reasonably: “The Board requires the requested information to determine whether further Board action is needed to fulfill its safety oversight mission.”

These kinds of delays that compromise the Safety Board’s assigned mission should not happen frequently, or at all, given the dangerous nature of all plutonium operations including cleanup of legacy waste and new waste resulting from expanding plutonium operations.

Factors such as these are extremely relevant to the safety of LANL workers, public health, the environment, and the national security mission, especially in light of the fact that LANL, in spite of the billions of our taxpayer dollars poured into it, has never maintained any kind of consistent production of plutonium pits over the decades since it was tasked with pit missions.

I hope DOE, NNSA, and LANL will clean up their act prior to embarking on the unbelievably dangerous missions of industrial-scale plutonium pit product, Surplus Plutonium Disposition, and receiving and repackaging heat source plutonium, all in the elderly and inadequate PF-4 building.

Again, I am very appreciative of the crucial work the Safety Board performs on behalf of the public and of LANL.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Schwartz
Norteños for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures
El Prado

https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-22-105412 

https://ehss.energy.gov/deprep/2022/FB22G11B.PDF https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/26836/Outstanding%20DOE%20reporting%20requirements%20%5B2023-100-002%5D.pdf

https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-22-105412

https://ehss.energy.gov/deprep/2022/FB22G11B.PDF https://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/document/26836/Outstanding%20DOE%20reporting%20requirements%20%5B2023-100-002%5D.pdf
Categories: G2. Local Greens

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