Ask Congressman Cooper member of the House Subcommittee on Environmental Oversight, to push for an oversight hearing on the production of new nuclear bomb triggers!
Dear Congressman Cooper:
Thank you for your service on the House Subcommittee on Environmental Oversight.
As a member of the Subcommittee, you can play a powerful role in challenging the dangerous and wasteful nuclear rearmament program, euphemistically titled “nuclear modernization.” Part of this rearmament program mandates production of new nuclear warheads for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), 600 underground missile silos with warheads 20 times more lethal than the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, incinerating 200,000 people in three days.
We, your constituents in Tennessee’s 5th congressional district, request that you urge Congresswoman Maloney, Chair, House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Congressman Khanna, Chair, Oversight Environmental Subcommittee, to hold hearings this fall on the failure of the Department of Energy, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), to conduct a programmatic environmental assessment of increased plutonium pit, nuclear bomb core, production at multiple sites.
We ask, Congressman Cooper, that during proposed hearings on increased plutonium pit production, you raise the following questions:
- Why did the Department of Energy fail to conduct a comprehensive programmatic environmental assessment of simultaneous increased plutonium pit production at multiple sites?
- Why did the Department of Energy fail to accept public comment and testimony on concerns over increased simultaneous plutonium pit production at multiple sites?
- What risks will the quadrupling of plutonium pit production pose for communities of color living closest to the labs?
- What risks and concerns are involved in increasing radioactive waste as a result of ramped-up plutonium pit production? Where will the waste be stored? Why has this program been funded without adequate answers?
- What are the risks and concerns involved in the handling and transport of plutonium and radioactive waste through densely populated areas?
- Although several sites are involved in the design and production of the new warhead, the primary production sites for quadrupling the number of nuclear bomb cores produced each year are New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos and South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, which has never produced plutonium pits before.
Recently, a coalition involving Tri-Valley Cares, based in Livermore, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch and the Gullah Geechee Sea Island Coalition filed a lawsuit against the Department of Energy for not conducting a programmatic environmental assessment to evaluate the impacts of increased production of radioactive nuclear triggers on the lab’s surrounding communities, most of whom are people of color, underrepresented and under-served in government.
In addition to concerns about the GBSD escalating the arms race and encouraging non-nuclear nations to pursue a nuclear arsenal, we are troubled by the failure of the DOE to appropriately review concerns about increasing radioactive waste, which has a half-life of 24,000 years and poses grave risks of radioactive contamination during transportation and storage. Moreover, the Department of Energy has failed to determine with certainty where this radioactive waste will be stored as the repository for waste from plutonium pit production is near capacity and can only accept waste through 2024.
While the Department of Energy accepted public comment and conducted a skewed environmental assessment of production of plutonium pits at the Savannah River Site, the DOE failed to conduct a serious environmental evaluation of the Los Alamos site and never conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the multiple sites, involved simultaneously in this program to ramp up plutonium pit production for the GBSD warhead.
Thank you in advance, Congressman Cooper, for considering our requests to hold subcommittee hearings on the failure of the Department of Energy to conduct, under NEPA, a programmatic environmental assessment of increased plutonium pit production for new nuclear ICBM warheads.
We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your service.