Thursday, October 28, 2010
Model Resolution to Use to Force DOE, NNSA, and LANL Compliance With the Law
I have decided to post a draft resolution to those who recognize that “something is not quite right here”, when DOE, NNSA, and LANL insists that the “CMRR is needed”, despite a tenfold increase in cost. No business man would stay in business if he did not reevaluate his investment strategy when the price of his preferred investment had increased tenfold. To give a scale to what is at stake here, the Sunday, Oct 17, 2010 Parade insert that accompanies most NM papers had a picture of Hoover Dam on its cover. That lead story reported:
At a cost of $108 million (or $1.7 billion in today’s dollars), the Hoover Dam was a mammoth construction project. Some 6 million cubic yard of rock were dug up, and 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete poured….
Current estimates of concrete for the CMRR (mostly to mitigate the problem of building a plutonium facility on top of a seismic fault) are for 10% of that concrete; dollar costs are more than double, and already approaching three times the cost of Hoover Dam. If the current rate of cost increases continue, the facility will cost thirty times what Hoover dam costs.
At what point does the public, DOE, NNSA, and LANL say ENOUGH. This project is absurd?
While there is evidence that even Secretary Chu recognizes the absurdity of “continuing construction” w/o such an evaluation, it is not clear whether the DOE intent is to follow the law. We have a procedure in place to protect the American Public from major waste by requiring an Environmental Impact Statement that mandates honestly defining the purpose of an investment, making the effort to list and study all reasonable alternatives – including BOTH what would happen if the project was not enacted as well as at least one alternative that is outside of the “jurisdiction of the lead agency”.
So until I hear that Secretary Chu acknowledges that this project is too different (the tenfold increase in costs, by itself, is enough to be too different) I will not be convinced that effort is not continuing to feather the nuclear weapons industries nest, rather than do what’s best, as the law mandates. So Secretary Chu, what is it –“Follow the law and do what the law requires”, or “Look for loopholes to continue to protect the nuclear weapons industry”, as the late Stewart Udall warned us about.
So here is a draft resolution, to use as a model for each governmental or business organization to pass, to stop this hemorrhaging of funds that makes us poorer and less secure.
The ______________________ hereby supports halting any and all work on the proposed CMRR Nuclear Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory until a new and full Environmental Impact Statement with scoping is completed by the Department of Energy.
WHEREAS, our community is within the impact area of the proposed $4 to $6 billion dollar plutonium processing plant (known as the CMRR Nuclear Facility) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) we therefore have serious concerns regarding adverse effects on the quality of our air, soil, water and the health, welfare, and economic well-being of our citizenry; and
WHEREAS, a serious accident during operation, or spill during transportation of nuclear material or waste associated with the proposed plutonium plant could affect our community very adversely, including in ways for which our first responders and hospitals are not trained or equipped to respond.
WHEREAS, Economic impact studies have not been done on the effects of said plutonium plant on tourism, which is a critical source of income for our community, and on the real estate market; and
WHEREAS, NEPA requires public notice and comment of proposed plutonium processing plant, and recognizing no such due process has been given to the pueblos or any of the communities of Northern New Mexico ; and
WHEREAS, The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) states that an EIS is to serve as an important contribution to the selection of the best alternative, and “will not be used to justify decisions already made”;
WHEREAS, the cost of the CMRR has increased at least ten-fold and the scale and impacts of the project have greatly expanded as well;
WHEREAS, prudent fiscal management and NEPA mandates that cost and economic well being must be considered in designing and selecting alternatives, and a more than ten-fold cost increase makes it highly unlikely that the current alternative is still the most cost effective one,
WHEREAS, only a full and complete new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would provide the public with enough information about the current proposal, one which only marginally resembles the proposal under which a 2003 EIS was undertaken,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE __________ THAT ___________ BELIEVES
1) THAT A NEW ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FULLY COMPLYING WITH NEPA MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE ANY FURTHER FUNDS ARE SPENT, CONTRACTS LET, OR CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY ALLOWED THAT IS RELATED TO THE CMRR NUCLEAR FACILITY AND
2) THAT THE NATURE OF CHANGES TO THE PROJECT PRECLUDE, AS INSUFFICIENT AND INAPPLICABLE, A MERELY SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT.