Tuesday, March 07, 2006
"HELL NO, WE DON'T WANT TO GLOW"
A small group of people representing a whole horde of organizations rallied yesterday in the New Mexico Capitol Rotunda against nuclear weaons, nuclear power, and New Mexico's significant involvement in nuclear projects.
First is an article from the Santa Fe New Mexican about the rally. Following that article is a press release from the Los Almos Study Group concerning the reasons for the rally. Finally, you will find the "Call of Nuclear Disarmament."
100+ NM Organizations, Others Call for Nuclear Disarmament
An Albuquerque nuclear-disarmament group argues the country should dismantle its nuclear-weapons arsenal and spend the money on health care, education and other domestic needs.
The Los Alamos Study Group, founded in 1992, rallied in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday morning to celebrate adding the 100th organization to its membership list. Roughly 15 people attended. Director Greg Mello used the occasion to argue against nuclear weapons, nuclear power and New Mexico’s involvement in those projects. The country today spends about $7,600 per household on the military, he said. “We cannot expect to solve any of our society’s problems with a military burden like that,” Mello said. Instead, according to the group’s “Call for Nuclear Disarmament,” money should be spent on “affordable health care for everyone, better education , renewable energy and economic opportunity for those who have none.”
The federal Department of Energy, which oversees Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories , is expected to spend about $4.4 billion overall in New Mexico this year, the office of U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N .M., has reported.
With that money comes thousands of jobs. University of New Mexico economist Larry Waldman has said Northern New Mexico would go back to “prehistoric times” without that federal funding. Domenici is an advocate of nuclear power as an answer to the world’s energy problems. Mello is not. He argued Monday that the state’s per-capita income has declined relative to other states, even as federal money to the state increased. His group advocates stopping the design and manufacture of all nuclear weapons; dismantling the country’s nuclear arsenal; and stopping nuclearwaste disposal at Los Alamos.
Examples of member organizations include the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Pax Christi New Mexico and Veterans for Peace, Santa Fe.
Press Advisory 3/3/06
100+ NM Organizations, Others Call for Nuclear Disarmament,
Halt to Nuclear Waste Disposal at LANL
On Monday, March 6, at 11:00 am, the Los Alamos Study Group will host a press conference in the State Capitol Rotunda on to announce achievement of a new milestone in its Call for Nuclear Disarmament campaign: more than 100 New Mexico organizations have endorsed the Call.
Displays will be presented and handouts will be available; there will be plenty of time for questions (see box).
For details of the Call and lists of endorsers, see www.lasg.org.
The Call for Nuclear Disarmament demands: 1) no further production of plutonium bomb cores (“pits;” the U.S. now has about 23,000 of these), 2) that the U.S. achieve mutual nuclear disarmament under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as required, and 3) that the nuclear waste disposal sites at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) be closed. It also includes a clear rejection of nuclear deterrence as a security doctrine and calls for a different security paradigm, one oriented toward human and environmental security.
In addition to these New Mexico organizations, 286 New Mexico businesses and 80 national and international organizations together with the City of Santa Fe have endorsed the Call. Approximately 2,500 individuals have also endorsed along the way, although the Study Group’s volunteers have emphasized institutional rather than individual endorsement.
The City of Taos and the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Northern New Mexico Citizen Advisory Board (NNMCAB) have formally recommended that LANL’s nuclear dump be closed rather than expanded as planned, an important element of the Call. The Los Alamos County (LAC) Council has likewise expressed its concern about the planned expansion of nuclear waste disposal in Los Alamos.
Prior to this year, approximately 3,840 New Mexicans had petitioned governors Johnson and Richardson to close Area G in the “Can-Paign” to halt nuclear disposal in northern New Mexico, with most paying $3 to convey their wishes on a can of food with a “nuclear waste” label. These petitions included a formal request for nuclear dump closure under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the controlling law under which LANL once held an interim disposal permit for all of Technical Area (TA-) 54, including Area G and other nearby nuclear and chemical waste disposal areas.
Study Group Director Mello: “Passing the important milestone of 100 organizations and nonprofits is primarily an achievement of Study Group volunteers. It’s a testimony to the hard work and initiative of a lot of people and a testimony to their civic engagement and active concern about the future. Other organizations are now looking at the Call with fresh eyes as the reality of the proposed nuclear weapon renaissance sinks in – along with what it would mean for our economic development, our security, and our environment.”
“In the process, we’ve learned some things. One is that it’s harder to get people’s attention in our information- and advertising-choked culture than it is to talk them into strongly condemning nuclear weapons. The fact that these weapons of mass destruction are one of the state’s largest industries doesn’t hold people back as much as I thought it would. The really hard part is getting peoples’ attention.
“Another thing we’ve learned is that leadership on this issue and a few others doesn’t seem to be coming from some of the places you’d expect. So fresh leadership is needed. As our society careens into the converging crises of the 21st century, the field of leadership is very much wide open.”
Fatima Portugal, Study Group Outreach Coordinator commented: “The Call for Nuclear Disarmament paves a path for active citizen involvement. We can do so not only as individuals, but as groups working together to create a future where our environment, our homes, our children, and our families do not have to be threatened by the hazards of nuclear waste dumping nor from the possibility of total mass destruction. Our future lies in what we do now. If we are to live in a civilized world, we must create it by sustaining the values of trust and upholding our promises. The United States signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT] where
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and of a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. [NPT, Article VI]
If we expect other countries to disarm, then we must do so as well. We must take the first steps.”
Damon Hill, Study Group research associate, added: “"How is funding a new generation of nuclear weapons really making anybody safer? It shifts not only the focus but the commitment of funding away from providing for real human needs. New Mexico faces persistent problems of poverty and sticking a new pit production facility here is no real remedy. The jobs may look nice at first but the long term costs are greater. Closing the dump is a step in the right direction, and a step that is in sync with the stated desire of numerous northern New Mexicans."
New Mexicans Call for Nuclear Disarmament
The continued possession, further development, and manufacture of nuclear weapons by the United States undermines the ethical basis of our society, breaks treaties our nation has signed, wastes our nation's wealth, and permanently contaminates our environment, while providing no real contribution to U.S. national security.
In fact, implicit and explicit nuclear threats by the U.S. undermine global efforts to halt proliferation of not just nuclear weapons, but all weapons of mass destruction. Neither can our nuclear facilities ever be made fully secure from accident, internal sabotage, theft, or attack.
New Mexico's two nuclear weapons labs lead the world in spending for weapons of mass destruction. But as the labs have grown, our state's relative economic standing has declined and now trails almost all other states.
We therefore call upon our elected leaders to:
Stop the design and manufacture of all nuclear weapons, including plutonium bomb cores ("pits") at Los Alamos and elsewhere.
Dismantle our nuclear arsenal in concert with other nuclear powers, pursuant to Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As the most powerful nation on earth, the U.S. must take the first steps in this process.
Halt disposal of nuclear waste at Los Alamos, as thousands of citizens and dozens of environmental organizations have already requested.
We demand quite different priorities: affordable health care for everyone, better education, renewable energy, and economic opportunity for those who have none. We call for investment in our people and families, in our economy and environment, instead of in preparation for nuclear war.
If you wish to sign the call go to http://www.lasg.org/DisarmForm/DisarmamentPetitionForm3.htm