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"Forget the Rest" blog

How you can help STOP the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

a. Give

In Bulletin #97 (pdf) we emphasized one simple thing you could do to help this month: make a donation to the Study Group, and write on the check (or, designate in the on-line donation field) “to help stop construction and operation of the CMRR Nuclear Facility” or words to that effect.

To those of you who have responded already, and to those of you are already regular donors, thank you. We have been deeply moved and encouraged by your contributions, including your recent ones. You are making our work possible, and giving it wings.

It would be very helpful to receive responses from more of you at this time. Many of you are working people or retirees on fixed, modest incomes who, like us, are more or less badly squeezed by our economic decline. Others of you are more financially secure, whatever that means these days.

Many relatively wealthy people are poorer, or feel poorer, than in the recent past for a variety of sound reasons. Regardless of our bank balance, it’s an accurate assessment of our common situation. We are all poorer and we are all very much less secure. The beauty of the world, and the consciousness in it, are very much threatened. The decline and fall is beginning to bite. That’s not a reason to pull back. It’s a reason to step forward. It’s why we would very much like to work with you.

Give us a hearing. Invite us over. Vet our knowledge and program with your friends. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

The financial appeal of Bulletin #97 was designed not just to raise money (very important to our success!) but also to reinforce the legally-cognizable links between you and us as regards stopping this facility. While we don’t think NNSA would want to embarrass itself by challenging the notion that we represent our members and supporters (of whom thousands have formally expressed themselves regarding pit production and the CMRR), stranger things have happened.

Some of you who are regular donors have dropped us a note saying words to the effect of ”Yes, please consider my donation applicable to helping stop the CMRR Nuclear Facility.” This works too. And we like to hear from you, period.

Besides mailing a check or contributing on-line there are many other ways to contribute financially. Please contact Trish by email, or phone 505-265-1200 if you are interested in any of the following:

  • Becoming a sustaining donor – contribute a designated amount every month;

  • Establishing a challenge grant or matching fund;

  • Contributing shares of stock; or

  • Remembering the Los Alamos Study Group in your will or estate plans.

b. Learn

We continue to suggest that folks who want to help begin by reading the legal complaint (pdf) and learning about the proposed CMRR-NF from our web page. You might make a list of your questions. Questions are far more important, and far more alive and fertile, than answers. In any case, knowledge about the issue is the foundation for all effective work on it.

c. Convene

Again, we suggest that folks – here we mostly mean folks in the Rio Grande region – write or call if you want to get more involved. If you organize a small group of your friends, or get us on the agenda of an existing organization, we will meet with you and others. Together, we can answer some questions and pose others. For the truly “live” questions, the ones that matter most, we ourselves – you, me, and our friends – are going to be the answers. Not somebody else.

d. If you live near Los Alamos, work with local governments to request: 1) a brand-new EIS, 2) a study of alternatives, and 3) a pause in the project in the meantime.

The direct effects of construction and operation of the proposed CMRR Nuclear Facility would extend to several New Mexico counties, including Los Alamos, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Bernalillo, and Taos. It is safe to say that essentially none of the people in the governments of those counties, and the local jurisdictions within them, know much if anything about the project. They may have questions. The existence of an active National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) lawsuit gives potential legal (evidentiary) weight, to their questions. And of course they have political influence.

We all know some of these elected officials. We want you to talk to them about the proposed Nuclear Facility. This will require homework on your part (see “learn” above)!

There are many possible positive outcomes from such conversations, not limited to issues surrounding CMRR-NF. An elected or managerial official could put their questions about the impacts of this facility in a letter to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). They might request an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which would be very helpful.

Asking for an environmental analysis is not the same as opposing the project. It is a very reasonable and modest request. It does not imply any views whatsoever regarding nuclear weapons, or about environmental protection vs. jobs, or about any other political matter. It does not imply any opinion for or against the project. It is just a request for basic information and analysis that should have been provided as a matter of law to these officials to help them form views about the project, and better serve their constituents. What has happened is that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the NNSA have approached NEPA “compliance” in such a way as to cover up the nature and impacts of the project, not reveal them.

If a local jurisdiction as a governing body – a city, or unincorporated town or village – were to request an EIS for the nuclear facility, so much the better.

It would also be helpful if elected representatives asked for a current business study of alternatives to the proposed Nuclear Facility. There isn’t one.

Here is a letter we have sent to many local government officials (doc), along with a sample letter here of the sort local government officials might send to the NNSA (doc) requesting a brand-new EIS. Please feel free to adapt these letters as necessary.

e. If you do not live near Los Alamos, ask your congressperson and senators to request an EIS and study of alternatives

If you do not live near Los Alamos, please ask your congressperson and your senators to request an applicable EIS for the proposed CMRR Nuclear Facility, along with a study of alternatives and a cessation of further investments in the facility until these studies are prepared.

f. Write, blog, speak

As mentioned before, writing and speaking about this project in guest editorials, blogs, and radio programs would be very helpful.

To get started, visit our website and check out the special section devoted to the CMRR issue. Educate yourself and write factual articles and letters based on that information. Make certain you have your facts straight. You have our permission to use what information you find there, but please give the Study Group credit in your article or letter. You can let everyone know that the Study Group is fighting this monstrosity and ask them to join us. Your individual voice can have a major impact and reach a wide range of people: state legislators, city and county councilors, business and community leaders – and, directly or indirectly, those who make decisions about this project.

Be encouraged: to successfully complete a project of this magnitude and complexity requires the willing and skilled participation of hundreds of people.

g. Build business and organizational support

There are many businesses and organizations in New Mexico that share your dissatisfaction as to the decisions being made concerning our state and its future – whether the federal money coming into the state is spent on nuclear weapons and the military industrial complex or invested in a more sustainable future. If the political will is there, they are fungible. Try approaching your friends and contacts in business and other organizations and ask them to join you in writing a letter in support of our work to stop the CMRR Nuclear Facility. And if they also donate toward this effort, that would be even better.

h. Earn academic credits as an intern – or just be one

Interested in activism, defense policy, human security, and nuclear disarmament? Motivated individuals who are either college seniors or graduate students are encouraged to apply to participate in an engaging hands-on learning experience. Arrange academic credit through your educational institution, learn, and gain real-world experience you can get very few other places. Please call our office in Albuquerque for more information! (505-265-1200) Enthusiasm can partially substitute for skills.

i. Other actions you can take

This short list does not come close to exhausting the ways you can help halt new warhead production and help turn around U.S. nuclear weapons policy. It doesn’t include most of what we ourselves are actually doing, for example.

There are many useful “freelance” things to do but I encourage you to think about them seriously and avoid aiming for the merely symbolic. In a time when there is widespread cooptation of nuclear issues, “actions” which are merely symbolic aren’t really symbolic of much anymore. Such actions seldom if ever build into anything grounded or useful, and they don’t prefigure a better world because, being merely symbolic, they cut the link between cause (the action) and effect (change in policy). Merely symbolic actions usually damage our collective ability to discern what is real from what is not.

If you want to work with us in some way not listed here, or just happen to be in the neighborhood, call or write and let’s see if we can arrange a cup of tea here at the “World Headquarters.”

Best wishes to all,

Greg, Trish, and the gang


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2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200