September 18, 2011 Subscribe. Unsubscribe.
#130: Report from Washington, in Santa Fe on Wednesday evening:
sailing straight into fiscal hurricane while spreading more sail than
ever; fate of Los Alamos production complex uncertain amidst overall
also the urgent request from the Peaceful Skies Coalition, below,
asking for your attendance at a "Community Meeting" to be
held by the Air Force in Santa Fe, Thursday evening, regarding
planned low-level training flights over much of New Mexico.
Dear friends and colleagues --
would like to invite you to a briefing (with slides) and discussion
regarding the current status of nuclear weapons issues in Congress,
especially as they relate to the giant
plutonium complex proposed for Los Alamos, on Wednesday
evening, September 21, at the Cloud Cliff Bakery in Santa
Fe, 1805 Second St., from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Cloud
Cliff's fine artisan bread, and tea, will be served.
Group Director Greg Mello, who was in Washington for meetings last
week with key congressional staff and analysts, will provide a
half-hour briefing with most of the evening available for Q&A and
general discussion. Other Study Group directors will also be
present. We will not provide unpublished views traceable to
specific organizations or individuals.
We will provide
a short legal
Among the decisions to be made in the
coming weeks in Congress, the White House, and the National Nuclear
Security Administration (NNSA) is whether to begin construction on
the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research and Replacement
Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF).
No one yet knows how the Budget
Control Act of 2011, with its mandatory but unknown cuts to
unknown government programs, and the increasing willingness
of Congress to trim defense budgets, will affect NNSA's future
NNSA has belatedly
revealed plans (pdf) to build dozens of additional nuclear
weapons facilities, including: another new factory at Los Alamos; a
long-planned but heretofore unrevealed (except to us, apparently) new
cruise missile warhead (pits for which would be built in the
CMRR-anchored TA-55 complex); and other ambitious plans, all of which
will require even more increases in spending in the 2022-2031
decade than even those proposed for the coming one. In all, over $180 billion in nuclear warhead spending is now proposed for
those two decades.
As we have learned (and more on
this on Wednesday), this $180 billion figure is being offered by
NNSA in constant, i.e. discounted, dollars, (pdf) which
would seem to open the door for further nominal increases each and
every year, even beyond those in this plan. Dream on!
Obama's free-range NNSA has now truly proposed the biggest
increase in warhead spending since the Manhattan Project, a
two-decade future run-up in U.S. commitment to nuclear weapons --
just as the U.S. economy and society are beginning to truly unravel,
with more and more of our population, and especially the rising
generation of teenagers and young adults, being thrown under the
There is considerable skepticism in
Washington that all this money (to be matched by even vaster sums for
building and operating nuclear strike submarines, bombers, and
missiles) will ever be available, or that all these facilities,
submarines, warheads, etc. will ever be built. Specifically, key parties are increasingly certain that CMRR-NF and a
comparably-expensive facility in Tennessee (the Uranium Processing
Facility, UPF) cannot be built simultaneously. For its
part, NNSA apparently thinks there will always be more money
available to bail out its boondoggles if (when) necessary, so the
more new program starts there are, the better. Because of these
and other factors, some government analysts are now predicting broad
systemic failure in the U.S. nuclear weapons program.
this, you might think that responsible adults, of whatever political
persuasion, might hold back one of the two giant proposed new
factories, which together may officially cost up to $12 billion.
(Some government analysts think the true figure is much higher.)
Yes, says the House, hold back CMRR-NF. No, say Senate
appropriators, let's rush in and start both of them, at least for
now, and save the hard decisions for later -- after 2012.
For New Mexico, whose economy is far
more dependent on non-military federal programs than on military
ones, the decision of our congressional delegation to support the
nuclear labs and especially CMRR-NF, is truly heartbreaking.
Those political priorities (the labs and the people of New Mexico)
are, as they have always been, largely mutually exclusive. If
the coming budget cuts do not make that clear, nothing will.
Small update: efforts by Rep. Martin Heinrich and his
Republican colleague Rep. Michael Turner on the Strategic Forces
subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee to increase
NNSA's short-term budget at the expense of non-NNSA programs during what is hoped will be a 6-week period this fall have
failed. NNSA's budgets are now subject to the same 1.5% cut
as the rest of government until November 18 (pdf) or until Congress passes
a relevant appropriations bill.
That's it for now, much
more on Wednesday. Please come if you can.
Trish, and Willem, for the whole Los Alamos Study Group
the Peaceful Skies Coalition
PLEASE HELP - Distribute Widely
Dear friends in Santa Fe,
The Peaceful Skies Coalition has
learned - with very short notice - that Cannon Air Force Base is
holding a "Community" Meeting in Santa Fe this Thursday,
September 22 from 6 - 9 PM at Santa Fe Community College, Jemez Room.
Peaceful Skies Coalition is a group of activists from Colorado and
New Mexico who have united to stop the proposed Low Altitude Training
and Navigation (LATN) airspace takeover of northern NM and Colorado.
The Coalition is hoping, urging, that
many people in Santa Fe will attend the Thursday meeting. The Air
Force has slammed us with these meetings, with only days to get out
the word so we need a lot of help.
Comments to this terrible plan are
due to Cannon by November 5, 2011. We need thousands of comments
making two key points:
1. Opposition to this Cannon LATN
2. Demanding a full Environmental
Impact Statement before it goes forward.
If Cannon's plan goes through, they
will fly 688 low altitude flights a year practicing refueling and
special ops mapping, tracking and targeting over our homes and the
headwaters of all the rivers that nourish the arid Southwest.
The Osprey flights alone cost $11,000
an hour.This is why the government is cutting schools, healthcare
and income security. The military is taking all of the national
treasure to waste on endless war and practice for war. What they are
practicing is terrifying civilian populations around the world with
this tremendously expanding, indiscriminate US warfare method.
More information and talking points are
available at www.peacefulskies.org.
If you want to be added to the Peaceful
Skies Coalition email list, please contact our list coordinator at email@example.com
Attached is a flyer from our meeting
last night in Taos with some talking points and the information on
where to send comments. Also a map that shows all the airspace and
military flight routes in northern NM and southern CO. This is an
effort by the military to create a giant military expansion which I
have named Southern Rockystan.