October 31, 2011
Bulletin #133: Making some headway – Request for help
Dear friends --
1. Articles in national and local media in the past week (since Bulletin #132, 10/22/11)
- New York Times lead editorial Sun, Oct 29th: "The Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget". This is quite helpful to us. Among other things it requests that Congress "Halt construction of the new plutonium storage facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Costs have increased tenfold, and there are serious safety questions about the location — along a fault line and near an active volcano. Savings: $2.9 billion."
Greg: "The NYT editorial was an excellent, common-sense editorial that understated some problems. 'Active' volcano wasn't right, and '$2.9 billion' is about half the current estimate." (The rest of Greg's comment is here.) With luck there will be more in the Times and other national publications on this matter. We have been working on that. Watch this space.
- A Giant New Plutonium Complex at Los Alamos, Huffington Post, Oct 31, 2011. Mary-Charlotte Domandi, KSFR's Santa Fe Radio Cafè host, writes about her recent interview of Greg Mello, "this sober, fact-loving, almost phlegmatic 'Joe Friday' of an activist." Thanks, Mary-Charlotte, for this article! And thanks to KSFR for all the good reporting through the years! (See also the fabulous audio archive created by indefatigable radio reporter Robin Collier at Cultural Energy in Taos!)
- Full-page ad in the Santa Fe New Mexican's Pasatiempo magazine: Twenty-five local Santa Fe businesses banded together recently to purchase a full-page ad, published Friday, October 14th in the Santa Fe New Mexican's Pasatiempo magazine. (Unfortunately, that magazine is not accessible on-line -- a pdf of the final ad is here.)
2. Please become a sustaining donor if you are not one already, or undertake a bit of outreach.
- S.F. [Santa Fe] Businesses Oppose Proposed Plutonium Lab,a story by Roger Snodgrass in the Santa Fe New Mexican interviewing some of the business owners that sponsored the ad. "Gail Haggard, owner of Plants of the Southwest, another sponsor of the ad, said the current plans to proceed were 'a continuation of the insanity.'" Indeed.
- Please consider becoming a sustaining donor, even at a very "low" level. We are deeply grateful for the regular monthly donations we receive that enable us to keep the doors open and the lights on first of all, but so much more than that. It is a real benefit to be able to count on a specific amount of money coming in each month, freeing us up from the endless task of fundraising and allowing us to do the work that you count on seeing come out of this office. If you have not already signed up to be a regular donor, please consider this commitment! We appreciate any level of support that you can manage. If you would like to become a sustaining donor to the Study Group please download, print out, and fill in this pdf form. Then mail it to our office: 2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87106. If you have any trouble with this process please do not hesitate to call Trish at 505-3265-1200. We are also happy to mail you a form from our office if that is easier.
And of course, you can donate at any time on-line (4.5% is taken out by the on-line service for processing), by mailing a check (with no processing fee) to Los Alamos Study Group, 2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106; or by a gift of stock or other property (please call Trish at 505-265-1200). No contribution is too small or too large. The Study Group is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible.
3. Report-back from DC.
- Be an ambassador for us, or with us. This can take an array of forms depending on one's personal situation, inclination, and interest. This outreach might have primarily a political character, or a social character, or a fundraising character. It could be something you mostly do yourself, with your own stamp and a nod or hat-tip to us, or it could be outreach specifically on our behalf. You can do things we can't; you know people we don't; you are in places we aren't, and each of you has a whole 24 hours every day other people do not. Greg: "We ourselves have no more hours to give, but even if we did have those hours, we would not have your unique standpoint in society, your friends, your creativity and will."
The Study Group's Greg Mello and Peter Neils just returned from a week of meetings in Washington, where they met with congressional and White House staff, members of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and their staff, journalists, other NGO experts, and others. We were generously hosted by our DC "family", the richness of which adds so much to these trips. We'd like to fill you in more about these meetings but we can't here without jeopardizing these relationships.
New Mexico's congressional delegation is not among the most impressive. The most common responses we get from them, on almost any worthwhile subject, are variations of "I can't." Senator Bingaman appears to be on autopilot until his planned retirement on CMRR, and many other issues. Representative Heinrich is one of the biggest boosters of nuclear weapons among House Democrats. Given all he has done, we conclude he is simply ill-suited to represent New Mexico. Representative Lujan appears passive. None of the Democrats are advocating, with any vigor, policies we could get behind. All are being overtaken by events. They appear to simply be going through the motions of democratic representation.
4. Update on litigation to stop the proposed $6 billion plutonium facility at Los Alamos.
The Study Group's appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver (pdf 285KB), appealing Judge Herrera's decision to dismiss our original case on May 23, 2011, is on-going, as well as the second lawsuit that we filed on October 21, 2011 in the Federal District Court of New Mexico (pdf 300KB). If you would like to read more of the briefs and other documents that have been filed in these two lawsuits you can access those documents on our website here. Stay tuned for more news on these lawsuits soon.
Trish & Greg for the Study Group