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Nuclear Power

Nuclear power cannot address climate change effectively or in time. Reactors have long, unpredictable construction times are expensive - at least $12 billion or higher per reactor. Furthermore, reactors are sitting-duck targets vulnerable to attack and routinely release - as well as leak - radioactivity. There is so solution to the problem of radioactive waste.

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Wednesday
Jan252017

Will Rick Perry Privatize America's Nuclear Waste Storage?

As reported at Mother Jones. See Beyond Nuclear's exposé on Energy Secretary-nominee Rick Perry's blatant conflict of interest with Waste Control Specialists, LLC, published at Counterpunch. Take action ASAP -- sign multiple petitions, and contact your two U.S. Senators, urging them to block Perry's confirmation!

Also, submit comments on Thurs., Feb. 23rd to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, opposing private permanent parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste!

Thursday
Jan192017

Urge your two U.S. Senators to block former Texas governor Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary, given his blatant conflict of interest regarding Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump

Former Texas governor Rick Perry's full Senate floor confirmation vote is VERY soon to happen, perhaps even today! So please take action ASAP, and spread the word! Please sign multiple petitions, and contact both your Senators directly, urging them to vote against Perry's confirmation! (See further below for additional action you can take in opposition to Perry's pet project -- a blatant conflict of interest -- an environmentally unjust high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at a low income, Latin American region of West Texas.)

SIGN MULTIPLE PETITIONS:

Sign Food & Water Watch's petition!

And sign the FOE petition!

And sign MoveOn.org's petition!

And sign DailyKos's petition! 

FURTHER ACTION YOU CAN TAKE:

ASAP, please
urge your two U.S. Senators to do everything in their power to block Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary.

Call both of your U.S. Senators during normal business hours, via the U.S. Capitol switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

And phone them via their in-district phone numbers (thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for the link to the phone numbers chart!)

Here is a sample script you can use, or adapt:

Hi, my name is ____ , and I'm from [City, State]. I am calling to ask you to oppose Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.  He has a blatant conflict of interest regarding the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump in Texas. WCS's owner, Harold Simmons, a Dallas billionaire, was also a top campaign contributor to Rick Perry. Now WCS is seeking billions of taxpayer dollars from the Department of Energy to open a centralized interim storage site for high-level radioactive waste, all at public liability.”


You can also email or fax your U.S. Senators at any time. Look up their direct contact info. at their websites, listed here. (Additional information on Perry's Jan. 19th hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and its 16-7 vote on Jan. 31st in favor of advancing his nomination to the full Senate floor for a vote -- now soon to happen -- is below.)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

In addition to Rick Perry wanting to eliminate the Department of Energy (if only he could recall its name!), being out of his depth on nuclear weapons issues, and until just very recently, his blatant conflict re: the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), there is also his conflict re: the environmental injustice of the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS is located in Andrews County, Texas, which -- along with its immediately adjacent neighbors across the border in New Mexico -- raises serious environmental justice concerns, given the large Latin American population, as well as the large population of low income residents; in addition, the region is already beset with dirty and dangerous industries (so-called "low" level radioactive waste dumping at WCS itself, uranium enrichment just a few miles away across the NM border at Uranium Enrichment Corporation (URENCO, a.k.a. Lousiana Energy Services), and widespread fossil fuel extraction and waste disposal activities (both oil drilling, and natural gas fracking). 

NOW WCS WANTS TO OPEN A DE FACTO PERMANENT PARKING LOT DUMP FOR HIGH-LEVEL  RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN WEST TEXAS ON THE NEW MEXICO LINE:


As Texas governor, Rick Perry did all he could to advance the interests of the "low-level" radioactive waste dump called Waste Control Specialists (WCS), LLC in Andrews County, Texas. WCS was owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, infamous as the "King of Superfund Sites" and a "most evil genius." Simmons was also a top campaign contributor to Rick Perry (as well as other Republicans and Conservatives nationwide).

At Counterpunch, Beyond Nuclear has published an exposé entitled "Radioactive Waste is Good for You, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rick Perry as Energy Secretary."

See also this exposé by Mother Jones: "Will Rick Perry Privatize America's Nuclear Waste Storage?"

Although Harold Simmons died in late 2013, his family still owns WCS. In 2014, Perry went so far as to travel to West Texas, promoting high-level radioactive waste storage in the area, as reported by the Texas Observer. This is in fact WCS's next major expansion plan, to contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to store commercial irradiated nuclear fuel from across the U.S. as a consolidated or centralized interim storage (CIS) site. In April 2016, WCS applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its license, a proceeding that is now intensifying, despite an environmental coalition's assertion that the application violates the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as Amended (see coalition letter to NRC, and press release).

WCS stands to make billions of dollars, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, just during the construction and operations phases alone. If something goes wrong (and WCS is located either adjacent to or immediately above the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest in North America, providing vital drinking and irrigation water for numerous Great Plains states from Texas to South Dakota), U.S. taxpayers would hold full, unlimited liability.

If opened, the WCS CIS facility would launch unprecedented numbers of high-level radioactive waste shipments, through most states. These high-risk "Mobile Chernobyls" would be mostly rail shipments, although even then this could involve a large number of barge shipments on waterways, including seacoasts, rivers, and the Great Lakes. Heavy haul truck shipments on roads could also be involved (as could Legal Weight Truck shipments on nationwide interstate highways, if WCS simply gets a rubber-stamped license amendment from NRC at some future date).

Centralized interim surface storage makes no sense -- the wastes would have to be moved to a deep geologic repository elsewhere someday anyway, thus multiplying transport risks. But it also faces the real risk of becoming a de facto permanent parking lot dump.

A lesson (that should have been!) learned from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, is that collusion between nuclear safety regulators, the nuclear industry, and government officials is very dangerous. The Japanese Parliament, in its first ever independent investigation published in 2012, concluded that the root cause of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe was just such collusion.

Here, Rick Perry is the embodiment of just such collusion, in the form of radioactive crony capitalism, plutocratic pay-to-play campaign contributions, and revolving door power politics and get-rich-quick-at-taxpayer-expense schemes. Figuratively speaking, as governor of Texas, when the WCS owner, and a major campaign contributor to Rick Perry, said Jump!, Gov. Perry effectively said How High?! Now, as Energy Secretary, Rick Perry could well sign a contract with WCS -- still owned by Harold Simmons' family -- costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in terms of construction and operation costs, or an unlimited amount, if something goes wrong (taxpayers would bear full liability).

Urge both your U.S. Senators to block Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary, due to such a blatant conflict of interest! Please forward this action alert far and wide!

[Related update, and more on WHAT YOU CAN DO: NRC PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY ON WCS ENVIRONMENTAL SCOPING:

In late January, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced a public comment period on the WCS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping. Public comments are due by March 13, 2017.

TAKE ACTION! SUBMIT COMMENTS BY MARCH 13TH! SEE PUBLIC CITIZEN WEB FORM, NIRS WEB FORM, AND BEYOND NUCLEAR (AND SEED COALITION OF TX) SAMPLE COMMENTS YOU CAN USE TO WRITE YOUR OWN!

Two public meetings were held by NRC, in Hobbs, NM on Feb. 13, and in Andrews, TX on Feb. 15, for collection of oral public comment. See the media covarge: http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/2017/2/15/nrc-wcs-public-comment-meetings-in-se-nm-w-tx.html ]

PERRY'S SENATE COMMITTEE CONFIRMATION VOTE, JAN. 31:

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee held its nomination hearing to consider confirmation of former Texas governor Rick Perry for Energy Secretary on Thursday, January 19th. (See Beyond Nuclear's press release re: Perry's ENR confirmation hearing.)  

The ENR Committee, unfortunately, voted on Jan. 31st in favor of Rick Perry's confirmation. The confirmation was approved, by a vote of 16 to 7. As reported by Ranking ENR Committee Democrat Maria Cantell (D-WA), who also voted against Perry's confirmation:

Gov. Perry received 16 votes of support, with Sens. Wyden, Sanders, Franken, Hirono, Duckworth and Heinrich opposing his nomination.

This means that all of the Republicans on the ENR Committee voted in favor of Perry's confirmation, as did Democrats Cortez Masto (NV), Manchin (WV), and Stabenow (MI), as well as King (Independent from Maine, who caucuses with Democrats). All of these U.S. Senators who voted in favor of Perry's confirmation need to hear from their constituents, expressing alarm and deep concern, and urging them to change their votes on the Senate floor, and to oppose Perry's confirmation. (See an example of such a statement of concern, sent by Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste Michigan to Senator Stabenow of Michigan, which you can use to prepare your own communication to your Senator who voted the wrong way in the ENR Committee.)

Conversely, those six Democrats (Cantwell from WA, Wyden from OR, Franken from MN, Hirono from HI, Duckworth from IL, and Heinrich from NM), and one Independent who caucuses with Democrats (Sanders from VT), deserve letters/emails/phone calls of thanks and support from their constituents, and encouragement to keep leading efforts to block Perry's confirmation on the Senate floor! (See an example of such a thank you letter, sent by Beyond Nuclear to Senator Sanders of Vermont, which you can use to prepare your own thank you letter to your own Senator who voted the right way in the ENR Committee.)

Wednesday
Jan182017

‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood

Tuesday
Jan172017

Quick signature needed: Defend the EPA

Action alert sent by Ben Schreiber of FOE. (Please note that EPA has wide ranging oversight on nuclear power, radioactive waste, and radiation/health matters. As but a couple examples: EPA determines Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) for hazardous ionizing radioactivity in the environment and food, in the event of a nuclear disaster; and EPA sets the radiation release regulations at the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada.)

Scott Pruitt's confirmation hearings in the Senate start TOMORROW. We still don't have your signature to Senator Carper pushing him to block Pruitt's nomination to lead the EPA.

We're running out of time! Add your name now to stop Pruitt, a climate denier and anti-environmental extremist, from leading the EPA.

Donald Trump picked Scott Pruitt -- a climate denier and Big Oil crony -- to lead the EPA.

Pruitt is openly hostile to the EPA’s mission. He would be the most anti-environmental EPA Administrator in history. And he’s spent his career suing the agency.

Pruitt’s confirmation hearings in the Senate start in TWO DAYS. Senator Carper -- the ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee -- might break ranks and vote for him. So we need your help to pull out all the stops and make sure he stands up for our planet and blocks Pruitt’s nomination!

Tell Senator Carper: Stop Scott Pruitt from dismantling the EPA!

 

Scott Pruitt has been Oklahoma’s Attorney General since 2011. He used that position to impede the very agency he’s now charged with leading.

He boasted that he “led the charge … against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda.”

He has sued the EPA multiple times to roll back the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. 

And he literally copied an anti-EPA letter sent to him by Big Oil lobbyists, pasted it onto government stationery, and sent it to Washington with his signature.

Tell Senator Carper to stop an anti-environmental extremist from being in charge of the EPA!

 

 

It’s no secret why Pruitt has been so hostile to the EPA. He’s received nearly $315,000 in political contributions from fossil fuel industries. And while leading the Republican Attorneys General Association, he raised at least $3.5 million from fossil fuel interests.

We cannot afford to let Scott Pruitt have this job. Our bedrock environmental protections are at stake. Unless Senator Carper fights back, we’ll have no more Clean Power Plan. No more methane rules. And our environmental policy could be dictated by the oil industry at the expense of the American people.

Tell Senator Carper that his vote is key to stopping Scott Pruitt from destroying our planet!

Standing with you,
Ben Schreiber,
Senior political strategist,
Friends of the Earth
 

 

Tuesday
Jan172017

Tomorrow: Stop a Polluter Puppet from Leading the EPA

Action alert sent by Deirdre Shelly at 350.org. (Please note that EPA has wide ranging oversight on nuclear power, radioactive waste, and radiation/health matters. As but a couple examples: EPA determines Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) for hazardous ionizing radioactivity in the environment and food, in the event of a nuclear disaster; and EPA sets the radiation release regulations at the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada.) 

Friends,

Donald Trump wants a climate change denier and friend of Big Oil running the EPA.

The President-elect has appointed Scott Pruitt, a man who’s built his career attacking and undermining the very agency he is set to run. As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Pruitt proved himself a puppet of the fossil fuel industry: he formed a secret alliance with oil and coal companies to gut our environmental regulations and defended ExxonMobil’s climate cover-up.

On Wednesday, the US Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for Pruitt. We’re planning a rally outside the hearing to send the message that we oppose Trump's radical anti-science, pro-fossil fuel nominee. A big action just before the hearing can help set the tone for press coverage, and show Senators that there’s vocal support for their opposition to Pruitt.

Can you join us in DC on Wednesday for a rally to #StopPruitt?

Here are the details:

What: #StopPruitt Rally. A rally outside the Senate confirmation hearing for climate denier Scott Pruitt.

Who: 350.org, the Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch and area climate activists.

Where: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Constitution Ave NE & 1st St NE.

When: Wednesday, January 18th, 9:15 AM.

Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook.

On Wednesday morning, we will gather outside the Senate office building where Pruitt’s hearing is being held. We’ll have signs, banners and a few speakers, and need a big crowd that’s ready to make some noise. When we gathered like this ahead of Rex Tillerson’s hearing, we got good press coverage and encouraged Senators to ask hard questions.

Over the past month, our movement has taken to the streets to resist Trump’s Climate Denier Cabinet. We made thousands of calls to our Senators, held rallies outside Senate offices across the country and mobilized outside Rex Tillerson’s hearing for Secretary of State. On Wednesday, let’s keep up the fight.

See you in the streets,

Deirdre