May 6, 2011
Bulletin #113: Report on the recent hearing; the need for discernment
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Dear Study Group
friends & colleagues,
All of us here at the Study Group
want to thank each one of you that came to witness the two recent
mornings of hearings, April 27th & May 2nd,
regarding the immediate future of the Chemistry
and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF)
project at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Some of you made very
long drives in addition to taking off work. One perceptive
observer flew in from the East Coast. We sincerely appreciate all
your support and want you to know how inspiring it was for all of us
to look out in the gallery during those hours of argument and
testimony and see your unwavering support. We want to also
commend our legal team – Tom Hnasko, Lindsay Lovejoy, and
Dulcinea Hanuschak – for their very professional and
knowledgeable teamwork, the results of which were evident.
This hearing addressed
our Motion for a Preliminary Injunction to stop expenditures on the
project until a brand-new environmental impact statement is
completed. The hearing also addressed the defendants' Motion to
Dismiss, a topic they prefer to NEPA compliance.
first day of the hearing was devoted to a thorough opening statement
by plaintiff's counsel, Tom Hnasko, followed by testimony from Greg
Mello and Frank von Hippel from Princeton University's Program on
Science and Global Security. Defendants' counsel Andrew Smith
from the Department of Justice voiced many objections during our
testimony, with a general appearance of unpreparedness. Our
counsels’ presentation was very much otherwise. When the first
day’s proceedings reached the three hour limit, Judge Judith
Herrera, after consulting with both legal teams, continued the
hearing on the following Monday morning, May 2nd.
second day of the hearing began with argument from defendants'
counsel Andrew Smith. The defense did not present any evidence
or testimony on either day. After Mr. Smith's statement our lead
counsel, Tom Hnasko, gave a concise closing argument. Judge
Herrera called a recess, stating she would review all the arguments
and evidence before ruling on the opposing motions.
stated, on the 27th, that the draft Supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is “irrelevant,” a
moment of agreement between sides. At the same time they would use
that process, admittedly incomplete and unripe in the legal sense, to
justify not interrupting their ongoing preparations to construct this
facility. It is their primary defense, in fact, and the basis of
their motion to dismiss. Defendants even argue that they are, in the
SEIS, actually considering two "alternatives," the design
variations characterized by our counsel as "digging a hole and
digging a deeper hole."
We would like everyone to
look carefully at the SEIS process as an example of how citizen
groups can be co-opted and recruited to support nuclear weapons
plans, as Study Group president Peter Neils explains.
We are looking forward to seeing many of you this coming Mon, May 9th, at ABQ
Mennonite Church, 1300 Girard
Blvd NE, and Tues, May 10th, in Santa Fe at St.
John's United Methodist Church, 1200 Old Pecos Trail, Rm#116, downstairs. On these two
evenings we will discuss the ways in which powerful elites shape and
subvert citizens’ efforts to save the planet and their
communities, and how we can avoid these traps. We will use current
examples from climate protection and energy policy as well as nuclear
disarmament and environmental protection, weaving together some of
the recent work of Sheldon
Pielke, and Matt
Nisbet with the century and half of combined
experience the Study Group brings to the table on these matters.
These will be challenging and we hope interesting discussions.
Please come, and bring your friends!
We want you all to know
that you have all been a blessing to us here -- your generosity, your
support, kind words, and witness in person during those days at court
have been a real boost for all of us here at the Study Group, and for
our legal team. Whatever form your support has taken is greatly
appreciated by all of us. Stay with us. In many ways, the tide is
now turning in our favor. And beneath the surface, where the way is
the goal, we have never stopped winning.
If you would like
to read the legal filings submitted to the court up to now you can
access those here.
When Judge Herrera issues her decision we will be posting that on the
same page and we will also send a bulletin letting all of you know
Recent press stories of interest:
Decision Yet in CMRR Lawsuit, A Special Bulletin from
the Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, May 5, 2011
of LANL building rests in judge's hands, The New
Mexican, May 2, 2011
Thank you all!
Greg, and all the gang