Coalition sues to stop Liquid Nuclear Waste Shipments

An international coalition including Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination has filed suit against the United States Department of Energy in an effort to stop dangerous and unprecedented shipments of liquid nuclear waste.

The coalition lawsuit charges that the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) failed to provide a thorough public process as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to fully analyze the hazards of transporting liquid highly radioactive waste. An Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared and made available for other federal agencies and citizens to review and comment on, including a discussion of alternative ways to deal with the nuclear waste.

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Experts drawn from organizations within the international coalition will testify that the shipments are unwarranted, ill advised and entirely unnecessary. Allowing highly radioactive liquid wastes from Canada to be shipped through communities and over major waterways in Canada and the United States, to be dumped in South Carolina, without the deliberative NEPA procedures, will set a dangerous precedent for decades to come. It will also intensify the pressures on the State of South Carolina to become an international nuclear sacrifice area.

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (NY – 26) has stated that the proposed shipments raise significant homeland security questions. The US House of Representatives unanimously passed Higgins sponsored legislation requiring a NEPA Environmental Impact Statement for the proposal.

Wes Raymond, CACC administrator says: “We cannot allow precedent to be set that would permit shipments of this material. CACC has examined all potential routes from Chalk River to Savannah River Site and the way in which liquid waste would interact with the environment in a release event; An accident anywhere along any potential route could irradiate the drinking water of millions of people. We are familiar with the physical properties of liquids, and we deny the claim that liquid nuclear waste can be contained in a release event.”

Lynda Schneekloth, a Buffalo, NY Sierra Club member says: “It is irresponsible to ship liquid highly radioactive waste through our communities and over our waterways without truly studying the dangers and alternatives. Governments are responsible for the health and wellbeing of the citizens who elected them.”

The liquid high-level nuclear waste in question is a corrosive acidic mixture of dozens of highly dangerous radioactive materials including cesium-137, strontium-90, iodine-129, plutonium-239, and weapons-grade uranium-235, left over from the production of medical isotopes at Chalk River, Ontario, north-west of Ottawa.

Although it was previously determined that this highly dangerous liquid waste would be solidified and stored onsite in Canada, the US Department of Energy now plans to truck the 6,000 gallons of extremely radioactive waste, in liquid form, to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, in exchange for $60 million from Canada.

“Liquid high-level nuclear waste is known to be among the most dangerous materials on the planet, as we have seen at the Savannah River Nuclear Weapons Site and the nuclear power and weapons reprocessing site at West Valley, NY. There is a good reason why no one has ever tried to move this stuff over public roads before. The material from Chalk River is in the same category,” said Diane D’Arrigo of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

“Our organization has fought against the needless and heedless transport of solid irradiated uranium fuel over public roads, rails, and waters,” said Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. “The only thing worse than solid irradiated uranium is the liquid variety. It is a Mobile Chernobyl; it cannot be contained when spilled due to crash, fire, or deliberate attack.”

Population centers of the eastern US

Population centers of the eastern US

 

“Shipping highly radioactive liquid waste to South Carolina is wildly inappropriate,” said Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. “Chalk River has been solidifying exactly the same kind of liquid waste for over ten years already. In 2011 Chalk River promised to handle all this material on site.” He added, “It was recently learned that Indonesia is going to be down-blending its high-level liquid waste on site, rather than sending it to the Savannah River Site, and Canada can do the same thing, making the high-risk transport of this material over public roads completely unnecessary.”

The lawsuit is being filed against the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration on behalf of a number of organizations whose individual members live along the potential transport routes who could suffer significantly in the event of a safety or security mishap allowing the escape of some of the highly dangerous liquid contents. The suit will also highlight specific problems at the SRS site that argue against the dumping of more nuclear waste there.

The coalition includes Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Lone Tree Council, Beyond Nuclear, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Environmentalists, Inc., Nuclear Information Resource Service, Savannah River Site Watch, and Sierra Club.

Permanent link to this article: http://caccmi.org/heunl_8-15-16/

Snyder appoints former BP Exec to head DEQ

Today, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Heidi Grether, the former executive of BP America, as the new director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Grether is the currently the deputy Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE).

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BP is responsible for one of the largest marine oil spills in history after an oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico exploded in 2010. In her former role at BP, Grether was in charge of supervising Gulf Coast restoration efforts. In April 2014, BP claimed that cleanup was substantially complete, but the United States Coast Guard said that a lot of work remained. Reports from individuals on the Gulf Coast indicate the same.

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While the administration is attempting to greenwash the appointee, enviro and other justice organizations around the state aren’t taking the bait.

“I am infuriated but not shocked that Snyder chose to appoint someone who had a hand in one of the worst man-made water disasters and cleanup failures in history to head the MDEQ,” said Melissa Mays, Flint resident and activist with Water You Fighting For and Flint Rising. “We have spoken with residents who are still affected by the BP disaster and they expressed concern that Flint water will also not get cleaned up properly. As we sit here in Flint, still unable to safely use our water, reading about who Snyder handpicked to run the MDEQ, we see those fears are more likely to be realized.”

“Snyder’s decision to yet again side with corporate polluters over protecting peoples’ health and safety continues to show his callous indifference to the suffering of Flint families and all Michiganders that have been harmed by the culture of putting the bottom-line first at the MDEQ,” said Lynna Kaucheck, senior organizer with Food & Water Watch.

And in our own office, CACC board member and volunteer coordinator Jennifer Raymond was quoted as saying, “Snyder’s actions clearly underscore the need for grassroots environmental efforts as our civic leaders are clearly not prioritizing the needs of the environment around us.”

Clouds of smoke billow up from controlled burns taking place in the Gulf of Mexico May 19, 2010. The controlled burns were set to reduce the amount of oil in the water following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (DoD photo by Chief Petty Officer John Kepsimelis, U.S. Coast Guard/Released)

Clouds of smoke billow up from controlled burns taking place in the Gulf of Mexico (DoD photo by Chief Petty Officer John Kepsimelis, U.S. Coast Guard/Released)

http://flintrising.com/blog-post/snyder-appoints-former-bp-executive-mdeq-director/

https://fenvalleyearthfirst.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/former-bp-executive-appointed-to-direct-michigan-department-of-environmental-quality/

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/07/gov_rick_snyder_appoints_forme.html

Permanent link to this article: http://caccmi.org/bptodeq/

MICHIGAN RESIDENTS STAGE DAYLIGHT RAID OF STATE OFFICES TO RECOVER NATURAL RESOURCES

Bucket brigade takes water out from capitol;
Occupation sucks air from Governor’s office.

Reblogged from Michigan United

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Photo credit: Zachary A. Clark

Michigan United members and supporters from across the state, gathered in Lansing for its annual ‘Capitol Day’, lashed out at a legislature hesitant to help Flint recover from a tainted water fiasco and a governor who has reneged on a promise to protect the air. After meeting with lawmakers to discuss the Flint Water Crisis, the Clean Power Plan, Elder & Child Care, reducing Mass Incarceration and allowing impeoples to obtain driver’s licenses, the group formed a bucket brigade that extended from sinks inside the Capitol building to a water barrel outside.

Gina Luster, a Flint resident who along with a young daughter have suffered from the effects of toxins in her water, addressed the protesters after the barrel was full. “This is going to be a long battle. We’re still experiencing ill effects on our mental, developmental and reproductive health. This will affect us and our kids for generations. We don’t need to just fix the pipes, they need to be replaced. Our lawmakers need to act now.”

erik shelly
Photo credit: Erik Shelley

Luster was one of a dozen people from Flint who expected to meet with Rep. Cotter’s office to discuss a supplemental appropriations bill but were turned away when they got there. A staffer for the Speaker of the House instead met with just five of them in a conference room surrounded by dozens of empty seats. In that meeting, he told the group that Rep. Cotter had no intention of addressing SB777, the supplemental Senate appropriations bill that would immediately provide Flint with $123.5 Million for health and infrastructure. Instead, Rep. Cotter will put this issue off for the rest of the summer and wait until the next fiscal year to deal with the crisis in October at the earliest.

After the protesters were finished with the legislature, they turned their focus on the Governor and the march continued across the street to the Romney building.

Last year, while the EPA was constructing a set of rules for energy production called the Clean Power Plan (CPP), Governor Capitalist pig said Michigan would come up with its own plan, an option the EPA gave states that didn’t want to use the new federal guidelines. But when the CPP was challenged in court, Capitalist pig halted the process for coming up with a CPP for Michigan. Earlier this year, the Michigan United Environmental Justice Team requested a meeting with Snyder’s office that has yet to materialize. So on Capitol Day, they returned in greater numbers.

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Photo credit: Zachary A. Clark

The demonstration filled the lobby of the Governor’s office. Some protesters filled balloons while others chanted. “We can’t leave it up to the market to decide whose neighborhood gets cleaned up first.” said Vicki Dobbins, a Detroit resident living in the shadow of the Marathon refinery. “We are on the frontlines and our lives depend on the Clean Power Plan being implemented and implemented now!”

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Photo credit: Zachary A. Clark

Representatives from the Governor’s office came downstairs to tell the crowd that they needed to fill out a formal request to get a meeting but were informed that the group had submitted one the last time they were there. With that, the protesters sat on the floor of the lobby and began chanting “No more forms!” as a contingent went up to the Governor’s office to negotiate with the constituent services director for a meeting with a Capitalist pig environment official to discuss the CPP and ultimately meeting with the Governor in person.

The protesters then left with their balloons full of air they took from the governor and crossed the street to retrieve the water they took from the legislature. As they did, they walked past a truck delivering bottled water to Snyder’s staff. The irony was wasted on no one.

Permanent link to this article: http://caccmi.org/michigan-residents-stage-daylight-raid-of-state-offices-to-recover-natural-resources/

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