Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement Is A Mountain Of Protection

Letter To The Editor_Pongratz Endorses Chris Chandler For House District 43 Seat (35)


As a concerned citizen of Santa Fe, the State of New Mexico and the Outreach Director for the Los Alamos Study Group, this is an open letter to implore our elected officials (local, state, and federal)to address the plans of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to create a massive plutonium pit factory.  This extremely critical matter will have dramatic negative impacts environmentally, economically, and socially on Northern New Mexico for decades and beyond. 

One very important action from elected officials means a mountain of protection for Los Alamos and the entire surrounding region in Northern New Mexico – requesting a Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for this proposal.  

LANL has not released its plan (which is legally required) for this project. Thus, it remains simply a “proposal” and keeps the public completely in the dark.  This alone is reason to question the validity of this project. No previous SWEIS, EIS, nor supplement/supplemental EIS will provide adequate protection. The New Mexico Environment Department has also said the current environmental analysis is inadequate. 

The recent LANL worker radiation exposure accident and issues of inability to transport hazardous waste safely are just a few examples of LANL’s poor track record to adequately protect workers, the environment and the public. 

The denial for land transfer by DOE/NNSA to Los Alamos County reported in the July 28, 2020 article published by the Los Alamos Reporter, creates great concern regarding LANL’s ability to be a good neighbor.  As Los Alamos County Councilor Maggiore states in this article “It’s increasingly clear in all their actions that they don’t care for us, our environment or our neighbors.” This land transfer is directly connected to the pit production factory.  

The denial by DOE/NNSA to Los Alamos County to provide land for the LANL expansion is a clear message they feel entitled to act with no logical, ethical or moral guide. By their own admission, NNSA has stated there is no “suitable” land to convey for public use. Having made their current home unsuitable for public use, they will do the same elsewhere.

The formal announcement by DOE/NNSA on July 23, 2020 seeking space for expansion, leaves Santa Fe and surrounding communities wide open and vulnerable to the same treatment Los Alamos County is receiving.  

The absurd amounts of money being poured into LANL for this pit production factory (billions of dollars) could help New Mexico survive the worst economic and health crisis we have ever experienced, instead of creating weapons of mass destruction.

Demanding a facility funded through our taxpayer dollars be accountable to the public is not only reasonable, but imperative. 

We look to and count on our elected officials to protect our best interests.  It is through that power, combined with public opinion, which effects change and creates strong sustainable community. 

A SWEIS provides transparency and accountability.  It is the first step in real safety and security for the public.  

Please protect Los Alamos and the surrounding communities in Northern New Mexico. Request a SWEIS now.  

In Peace we remain,
Lydia Clark
Outreach Director
Los Alamos Study Group