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"Forget the Rest" blog

June 6, 2011

Bulletin #117: No meeting tomorrow; new CMRR resources; House likely to propose warhead spending cut

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Dear friends,

We are postponing tomorrow night's (Tues, June 7th) Study Group meeting at St. John's United Methodist Church in Santa Fe.  Since my return from Washington, DC last week we have been very involved with urgent and requested follow-up and we must focus intently on fulfilling those requests, which encompass a diversity of National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Department of Energy (DOE) issues and programs. 

Some of you may be interested in this recent paper (Reasons Not to Build, or to Delay CMRR-NF), which formed the core of briefings I gave in Washington to numerous government officials and two arms control groups. 

Most if not all arms control organizations and their principle funders still believe this project should not be opposed.  (I'm shocked, shocked.

Speaking of Washington, last week the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee proposed a large cut in Obama's requested increase in nuclear warhead spending, including a cut in FY2012 spending for the proposed Los Alamos Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF).   The line-by-line details of these concerns, and how they will propagate through the (broken) appropriations process, are at the moment unclear. 

No newspaper saw fit to report the $500 million Republican-led proposed cut in nuclear warhead spending.  Not all the details were available.  Perhaps the public will be allowed a peek into their evolving nuclear future next week.  Or not. 

The shadow cast by our recently-dismissed litigation continues to delay CMRR-NF.  Even though the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process that began in response to our litigation is totally bogus from a legal perspective and as a study of alternatives (it considers none), NNSA wisely chose not to let additional construction contracts during the lawsuit, and is still holding them back during pendency of the SEIS and its Record of Decision (ROD).  Also and related, project expenditures in the present fiscal year are, we hear, accordingly far less than originally projected.  Yes, the project has been slowed -- as is more than proper given its cost explosion and contraction in justification. 

We cannot supply more details about the CMRR-NF "state of play" here.  (That was the topic of last week's public discussion in Santa Fe). 

To repeat what we said in our press release regarding Judge Herrera's recent decision, "It is never legal for a federal agency to decide to implement a project with significant environmental impact without an applicable, objective EIS, and that is what is happening here."  NNSA is not at all out of the woods, legally speaking, and we are working on that too. 

More fundamentally, certain facts are a problem for the project: high seismicity, a cramped site, poor geology, a lack of need, declining availability of federal funds, negative international repercussions, the irrelevance of the mission to today's real national (security) crises, and more.  It's a fiasco now and will remain one until it is eventually abandoned. 

Here's a handy compendium of recent developments and resources on CMRR-NF. 

We look forward to seeing many of you next Tuesday evening, June 14th, 7-9 pm at St. John's United Methodist Church in Santa Fe.  The topics and speakers are at the moment under development and "TBA." 

Many of you are already supporting these efforts financially.  Thank you.  Currently, the bulk of our support comes from hundreds of small donors.  Despite the sophistication and impact of our work nationally, we are a true grassroots organization.  One of the most powerful things you could do to help us is to reach out to wealthier friends of yours and ask them to help support us.  Your friends can contribute electronically here, or send a check to the address below.  The tight integration of the liberal foundation community with the Democratic Party and its global foreign policy objectives, and with the present President, make a very challenging political mileau for us.  Many of your friends may not understand that they could make a decisive difference in the future of nuclear weapons policy, and in this state, if they chose to be more involved.  Unlike most -- perhaps I should say nearly all -- academic and nuclear-related nonprofits operating in the U.S. we are not fenced in by funder priorities.  We are fenced in by limitations of time and money.  Help us overcome these, if you can. 

By the way, we are always looking for volunteer staff.  Only the best need apply.   Here is a list of work areas where there are not enough hours in the day for us to pluck all the "low hanging fruit."  

▪    Regional economic and political research
▪    Conventional and new media outreach
▪    Major donor and foundation fundraising
▪    Web design and implementation
▪    Local outreach coordination
▪    Evidentiary research in environmental litigation
▪    Graphics, editing, and layout
▪    Congressional liaison and legislative analysis
▪    Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and related document acquisition
▪    Event planning and scheduling
▪    Program, project and budget analysis

Thank you all. 

Greg, Trish, and gang

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