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"Forget the Rest" blog


May 15, 2011

Bulletin #114: Santa Fe meetings continue Tuesday pm; Albuquerque meetings discontinued (please volunteer with us instead!); boycott the sham SEIS "hearings," take REAL action instead

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Dear Study Group friends & colleagues,

Greetings from all of us here at the Study Group.  And thanks, many of you, for your generous support!

1. Update on NEPA litigation regarding the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF) project at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

As you read in Bulletin #113, two mornings of hearings on opposing motions were held on April 27th & May 2nd, after which Judge Herrera called a recess to consider the evidence and arguments presented.  She has not yet ruled.  When Judge Herrera issues her decision we will be posting that on the litigation page and will also send out a bulletin and press release pronto.

You can read an excellent article from the leading nuclear weapons industry newsletter about these hearings here: "No Decision on CMRR-NF as Gov't, Activist Group Duke it out in Court," Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, May 7, 2011

If you would like to read the legal filings submitted to the court up to now you can access those here.

After a short break to "recharge our batteries" in the days immediately after the second hearing we have been working hard on other CMRR-NF fronts, some of which may become visible soon.

We also will soon be in Washington, DC again, explaining the issues, educating lawmakers, and learning a great deal ourselves.  We generally spend about a month each year there, working with colleagues and helping decisionmakers "connect the dots."  There is potentially some good news brewing there but it is not ready for prime time.  Please be encouraged -- don't lose heart!  Whatever happens in the lawsuit, there is a subtle tide in our favor.  How can you be so confident, you may ask?  Because the facts are highly adverse to this project.

By the way, there is a tremendous and apparently increasing interest in our CMRR web site from colleagues on Capitol Hill, nuclear contractors, and other countries.

2. Weekly public meetings in Santa Fe continue on May 17, 7 - 9 pm at St. John's United Methodist Church, 1200 Old Pecos Trail, Rm#116, downstairs; Albuquerque meetings discontinued -- please volunteer with us instead!

This Tuesday's discussion in Santa Fe will focus on powerful, simple, concrete actions you can take to effectively oppose the proposed CMRR-NF plutonium warhead core ("pit") complex.  Last time, we discussed ways in which powerful governmental forces and private elites shape and subvert citizens’ efforts to save the planet and their communities and how we can avoid these traps, using current examples from climate protection and energy policy as well as nuclear disarmament.  The meeting in Santa Fe was really dynamic and I think most people there got something useful from it.  Tuesday's discussion is the practical follow-on to the last one.

Attending the upcoming SEIS hearings or commenting on the SEIS, or otherwise investing in the SEIS, will only help NNSA build this project, so that's not among the useful things one might do (see below for a little more on this theme).

The first thing you can do is to express your solidarity and come to our meeting in Santa Fe, and don't go to the Department of Energy's meetings, which they organize for their own purposes, which are not oursDon't be used!  Please come on Tuesday, and bring your friends!

We will be sending out more later this week, but it is virtually impossible for most people to take effective action alone.  So please come on Tuesday.

We mostly work in Albuquerque, and in our home city we have decided to discontinue public meetings in favor of working with you directly in our office, if you wish.  We have a great deal to do and only two full-time people with which to do it.  Some of you have particularly helpful skills, and some of you can help create opportunities for others to contribute.  We are inviting those of you who reside (conveniently for us) in Albuquerque to move past discussion, to action.  Please call or write us.

We are looking forward to seeing our Taos friends soon, by the way.

3. Boycott the sham SEIS "hearings," take REAL action instead.  XSEIS the SEIS.

The SEIS process is a prime example of how citizen groups can be co-opted and recruited to support nuclear weapons plans, as Study Group president Peter Neils has explained.

We sympathize with everyone who wants to use an illegal and invalid DOE process to "sound off" about the CMRR-NF.  It may be cathartic, but if it's empty of value or meaning, that catharsis -- organized, remember, by DOE, and for their purposes -- is not a good thing.  We have to face up to the fact that offering our opinions and analyses, however excellent they may be, in a forum which is set up for the sole purpose of helping an agency evade the law and keep moving forward on the project, an adverse judgment in court, is an expression of weakness and frank subjugation, not strength.

Yesterday somebody sent me a set of seemingly erudite talking points about the CMRR-NF, to help form public comments for the SEIS.  You know what was missing?  A demand to stop the project, now.  That was shocking.  The SEIS project is all about continuing the project, whatever the content of the comments.

It is very good to develop knowledge, and better still to express that knowledge publicly in any number of effective ways.  This is not one.  Many understand that the NEPA process as conducted by DOE is generally a sham, more or less.  What is special about this case is that the project is already being implemented.  Massive CMRR construction has occurred and DOE has been appropriated about $169 million for this fiscal year for the project, which they are spending, making a total of $458 million appropriated for the Nuclear Facility so far.  This is not just your typical DOE snow job.  It is far, far worse.  Those who condone the SEIS process under these conditions are striking at the heart of NEPA.  And friends, you can't be for a process -- which your participation indicates, far more than anything you could say -- and against it at the same time, not on this planet anyway.

Ample reasons why the SEIS process could never be valid can be found throughout our lawsuit.  A short list of reasons can be seen in paragraphs 92-105 of my third affidavit (pdf), along with a list of prior steps necessary to initiate truly useful, i.e. legal, analysis under NEPA.

We will be writing more about this theme in the coming days.

Some of you saw the little essay by Bruce  Levine published by Truthout on May 11 entitled "The Tenfold Path to Guts, Solidarity and the Defeat of the Corporate Elite."  It contains this passage, which is highly descriptive of New Mexico:

[W]hen we human beings eat crap for too long, we gradually lose our self-respect to the point that we become psychologically too weak to take action.  Many Americans are embarrassed to accept that, after years of corporatocracy subjugation, we have developed "battered people's syndrome" and what Bob Marley called "mental slavery."  To emancipate ourselves and others, we must:

  • Move out of denial and accept that we are a subjugated people.
  • Admit that we have bought into many lies. There is a dignity, humility, and strength in facing the fact that, while we may have once bought into some lies, we no longer do so.
  • Forgive ourselves and others for accepting the abuser's lies. Remember the liars  we face are often quite good at lying.
  • Maintain a sense of humor. Victims of horrific abuse, including those in  concentration camps and slave plantations, have discovered that pain can either  immobilize us or be transformed by humor into energy.
  • Stop beating ourselves up for having been in an abusive relationship. The energy  we have is better spent on healing and then working to change the abusive system; this provides more energy, and when we use this energy to provide respect and confidence for others, everybody gets energized.

Activists have been parading to DOE NEPA hearings about nuclear weapons for more than 20 years.  Many of the key organizers who are paid to recruit people for DOE are at best living in the past.  More and different actions, more thoughtful ones, are required.  Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.  We need a different result.  And the issues are now much bigger.  They do not fit into the very tiny boxes prepared for them in the bogus SEIS process, and neither do we.

Thank you all!

Greg, Trish, and gang 
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