Across the country, cities, counties, and states are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. in light of the failure of his magical powers to wish it away, even the President has declared a national emergency and has recognized a state of emergency in all 50 states.
NEVERTHELESS, THE BOMB MAKERS ARE PUSHING FORWARD.
in oak ridge, where a number of workers at the UPF construction project have reportedly tested positive and been sent home, the NNSA has not suspended work; more than 800 workers amass there every day to continue building the bomb plant and sharing whatever germs they may have.
but that’s not the worst of it. across the weapons complex, NNSA is pushing forward with its environmental impact statements, requiring comments within thirty-day periods and holding public meetings (albeit “virtual”)—in short, business as usual.
this despite the fact that the chairpersons of 14 House committees wrote to the Administration on April 1 calling for an indefinite extension of all public comment periods and the rescheduling of public hearings and meetings until after the COVID-19 national emergency has expired. on April 8, twenty-four members of the Senate sent a similar letter.
WE HAVE TO CALL THE NNSA OUT AND DEMAND THEY RECOGNIZE THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY AND GRANT RELIEF IMMEDIATELY.
PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TODAY.
below is language we are suggesting. you may use any or all of it. please send your email to the following people (who are responsible for the NEPA program at Savannah River, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge).
<< NEPA-SRS@srs.gov >>
<< Brian.Costner@hq.doe.gov >>
<< Bruce.Diamond@nnsa.doe.gov >>
<< NEPA.firstname.lastname@example.org >>
<< email@example.com >>
THANK YOU. We want to create a wave of comments, so every email helps!
Dear Ms. Nelson, Ms. Slack, Mr. Diamond, and Mr. Costner, et al,
Leaders in both houses of Congress have called for all public comment periods to be extended indefinitely during the national COVID-19 emergency, and for public hearings to be scheduled after the national emergency is lifted.
I agree with the twenty-four Senators who wrote:
“the American public is not only legally entitled to a meaningful opportunity to participate in these important proceedings; their participation is crucial to ensuring that agencies’ work is carried out effectively. The public is an invaluable source of expertise for agency decision-makers, and their ability to weigh in on agency decisions advances the good government goals of accountability. Yet, such meaningful participation is an impossibility for tens of millions of Americans during this pandemic emergency period. We cannot reasonably expect the public to redirect attention from protecting themselves and families to comment on federal agency rules and proceedings that while important, are not related to the crisis at hand or its response.”
In light of the COVID-19 national emergency, we demand that the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration immediate institute and indefinite extension of all public comment periods and the rescheduling of all public hearings and meetings until such time as the national emergency is lifted and the public is able to devote its attention to these issues. Please note that “virtual” public hearings and meetings are not acceptable to us; in these COVID-19 times, they inevitable exlude low-income and unemployed people who no longer have access to public internet or can not afford cell phone cards.
The issues dealt with in the current NEPA analyses at Los Alamos, Savannah River and Oak Ridge are of great importance not only to the residents living near those facilities but to the nation as a whole. In this time of national emergency, though, people are necessarily more concerned with basic issues of health and safety—paying bills, putting food on the table, the health and safety of family members and neighbors. We are putting on masks to go to the grocery store and worrying when we come home about whether we have been infected. We are making choices about which bills to pay and which to defer. We have no idea when we will be able to return to work, draw our next paycheck, or attend religious services. Some of us have been required to say our last good-byes to loved ones via phone or Face Time or not at all. We have seen our retirement funds decimated. This is what a national emergency looks and feels like where we live.
It is imperative that DOE and NNSA recognize this and hit the pause button on these elective NEPA processes until such time as we are able to resume a normal life without the looming uncertainty of this national emergency.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.