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December 6, 2017

Dear Taos friends --

Many of you likely received this email. We hope you will attend and give the Congressman a piece of your mind about his efforts to build a much bigger plutonium warhead core ("pit") factory at LANL.

This is a fight we can win, if we try. As we said yesterday, we don't need this investment anywhere. See Bulletin 238: Normative plutonium policies as we see them – a quick sketch.

Congressman Lujan recently wrote, in a joint statement with senators Heinrich and Udall, that he "strongly support[s] Los Alamos National Laboratory’s role as the nation’s Center of Excellence for Plutonium Research [sic].” ("Research" is not in question. Why the lie?)

They go on to say:

We have had concerns that the evaluation process undertaken by NNSA that led to this report was deeply flawed from the start. The Pentagon’s independent cost accountability office conducted this same [sic] assessment in 2013 and concluded that Los Alamos is the only option to meet cost and schedule requirements. We would be deeply skeptical of any alternative that contradicts that independent assessment, and we will fight for full justification required by the most recent NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] that will be signed into law any day now.

One former LANL scientist explained this in simpler terms in an email: "It's the money, honey."

We don't think Congressman Lujan knows very much about this subject. We do not believe it was necessary for him to make this statement about a 400-page report he has almost certainly not read.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) says in its report that it will spend more than $3 billion upgrading the plutonium pit manufacturing capabilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to achieve a 30 pit per year manufacturing capacity, regardless of the final decision about a larger capacity. (We do not think this is necessary.)

Nuclear policy matters aside, we think that there are much better uses for $3 billion in federal dollars in New Mexico. For example, we believe investment credits in energy retrofits and renewable energy for homes, businesses, and neighborhoods have the potential to multiply each federal dollar four or five times with private investments, which would give the New Mexico economy a far larger boost. These far larger sums would go to far more people, rather than be dumped into one of the richest counties in the US. Skills, careers, businesses would be built. What about education? What about Medicaid? And so on.

Our delegation wants an additional $1.9 to $7.5 billion in plutonium investment -- $4.9 billion to $10.5 billion total. This won't come free, you can be sure of that.
OK, that's enough for now. New Mexico is poor in part because its leaders cannot get their heads out of the labs. It's Stockholm Syndrome -- the battered state syndrome. We have to change it.

Best wishes,

Greg and Trish

Taos County Dem Party

You're Invited!

Coffee with Rep. Ben Ray Lujan
Dec. 9th @ 2:30pm

Ben Ray Lujan

Join our congressman this Saturday afternoon for coffee and a conversation.

Taos County Democratic Party, PO Box 3571, Taos, NM 87529


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