Is NM’s “Just” Transition Moving from G&O to Nuclear Arms? Plus Urgent PRC Action

Today, we focus on the invasion of NM by the nuclear arms industry and by Federal police and, nationally, the threat of overt fascism. This is starting to get scary. We close with local musician David Berkeley whose dulcet tones can soothe the stress.

We are throwing a lot at you today, with video to watch, online conferences to attend, radio shows to hear, and two urgent calls to action, one related to the PRC (immediately below) and one related to our feature story, NM Being Invaded by the Military Industrial Complex. The online conference described in the right column (bottom of the post if you are reading on a smart phone), is the international Veterans for Peace conference with a total focus on nuclear arms proliferation with many of the presenters from NM. We close the post with two videos: David Berkeley, and the 9-minute speech Ocasio-Cortez gave on the House floor explaining why she is so offended by House Rep. Yoho (R). It is inspiring. She oozes integrity. Onward.

YUCCA and Walk The Talk are co-hosting “The Road To Abolition,” a panel discussion on how Santa Fe as a community can go forward on a path to abolishing the military industrial complex and dismantling institutional racism. They will host Attiana Virella-Fuentes, Miguel Acosta, Bekah Wolf, Lyla June Johnston, and David Correia as panelists.  DETAILS & REGISTRATION
This looks to be a very interesting discussion.

An Easy and Urgent Call to Action: PRC Decides On Weds
100% Renewables or Natural Gas Requiring Fracking

We have a chance to replace San Juan Coal with 100% renewables. It is cheaper, it will produce more jobs, it is much better for the planet and the PRC Hearing Examiner recommended the 100% renewable plan. No need for speaking points, just tell the PRC Commissioner that you are counting on them to rebuff PNM’s desire to include natural gas, and that you strongly support the 100% renewable plan. Call Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

News In Brief: Today’s News In Brief begins with an article from Common Dreams that focuses on the extent to which corporations have achieved extraordinary profit from COVID and how the government, if we had one that cared, could levy taxes on those corporations. It is followed by an article on two votes in Congress where Democrats refused to cut the defense budget and passed the full Pentagon budget. We clearly have work to do as every NM Rep. and Senator sided with the GOP. The third and fourth offerings below are sort of appetizers for the featured piece on LANL. The Aiken Standard describes a plutonium accident at LANL this month where 15 workers were seriously exposed to plutonium, and the New Mexican touts Rep. Lujan’s introducing legislation to vastly expand LANL’s funding, claiming in the article that we owe it to LANL for all their work on the pandemic. What work on the pandemic? Smoke and mirrors.

Nuclear Arms Race
Speeding Toward NM

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) formally announced their interest in leasing property, possibly “multiple properties,” for one or more satellite LANL facilities of indeterminate size.

This is far from the first time LANL or NNSA has publicly stated its interest, but to our knowledge LANL has not up to now done so formally and in writing, except for NNSA’s proposed participation in Santa Fe’s Midtown Campus.

With plans for vastly expanding plutonium production, with all of our Congressional and Senate leaders begging for more and more expansion of LANL, and with the Federal Government seeking to eliminate the need for a Sitewide Environmental Impact Study, we have an awful lot of momentum coming from Washington for NM to again become the nation’s sacrifice zone. In the month of the 75th anniversary of the Trinity blast, the irony is not lost on us.

Los Alamos Study Group’s Lydia Clark published an open letter to the Mayor and City Council reminding them of their historic opposition to nuclear arms proliferation. At the end of the open letter are simple speaking points and contact info for the Mayor and the City Councilors. Read On!

An open letter to Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and the Santa Fe City Council:

We, the Los Alamos Study Group, have written to the Santa Fe City Council and the mayor of Santa Fe numerous times regarding two very important resolutions we have proposed, with no response of any significance from anyone.

These resolutions are of great import to the safety, health and welfare of the city and citizens of Santa Fe, and we are very concerned the City Council and mayor are ignoring these issues.

The City of Santa Fe has had a long-standing policy of resolutions supporting nuclear disarmament, supporting environmental impact statements and opposing production of nuclear weapons, specifically plutonium pit production.

Santa Fe has also been and is still a member of “Mayors for Peace,” which states that “nuclear weapons are inhumane” and calls for “their abolition.”

Recently, Mayor Webber attended a “peaceful protest” regarding racial issues. Is the destruction of humanity and the planet less important in keeping the peace?

The safety, health and welfare are only a part of the impact created from nuclear weapons production at Los Alamos National Laboratory. It uses and diverts much-needed funding for education, health care, sustainable jobs, and real safety and security away from New Mexico. The proposed FY2021 federal budget solely for plutonium pit production at LANL is now $1.1 billion (an increase since our last letter). How many truly beneficial programs for New Mexico would this support?

Nuclear weapons production creates vast amounts of toxic waste that has no safe method of disposal, with the potential to contaminate our environment from spills, leakage, fire hazard, seismic activity and human error. The waste currently being stored at LANL will not be transported for disposal any time in the near future. Where will the new waste be stored?

The recent exposure to LANL workers from a breach in a plutonium glove box is foreshadowing of things to come with the proposed plutonium pit factory at the facility. LANL has a history of safety failures.

The last plutonium pit factory, Rocky Flats (in Colorado), was forcibly closed for egregious environmental violations, worker injuries and deaths. Is New Mexico willing to create Rocky Flats II?

Why would the city officials not support asking for a Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (which is part of one of the above-referenced resolutions) that can help protect not only Santa Fe, but also the entire northern New Mexico region in this crucial matter? Link to SWEIS resolution.

The other resolution would bar the city from entering into development agreements with LANL or other nuclear weapons agencies. (There has been talk of a LANL presence on the city-owned Midtown Campus). Link to Mid-Town Project Resolution.

Your lack of concern and response is disturbing, and we ask once more for a prompt response to the request for support and implementation of these two resolutions, and an explanation to the public of the position of the city of Santa Fe in matters of peace, sustainability, environmental protection, and the health and welfare of our citizens, and the citizens of New Mexico.

Do not allow our city to become a nuclear sacrifice zone.

Please contact your city councilors and the Mayor. The “ask” is simple:

  • Santa Fe has long had a principled stand against nuclear arms.
  • We need to say no to LANL or presence in the midtown project and
  • We need the City to pass a resolution requiring a Sitewide Environmental Impact Study for the expansion of pit development.
  • Draft resolutions were forwarded by Los Alamos Study Group in February. It it time to act.

Saturday, July 25, 8:30 am – 9 am on KSFR, 101.1. Retake on KSFR. We interviewed Karen Whitlock, Democratic candidate for the NM House who is challenging Republican Rebecca Dow in District 38. District 38 is one of Retake Our Democracy’s six priority races in the November election. Listen in and find out why we are so enthused with Karen Whitlock. And if you miss the show when it airs, click here to find a recording of the show that includes an extra 20 minutes of conversation. Karen is a tremendous candidate. I was blown away with how solid and well-informed her progressive stands are. And she is challenging Republican Rebecca Dow, who has a two-year track record of voting “no” on almost every bill Retake supports.

Veterans for Peace, International Online Convention, August 2-9. Greg Corning is a long-time Retake volunteer and also a member of Veterans for Peace, NM. Greg sent me information on what looks like an excellent international convention with many strands relevant to NM. The convention is August 2-9, with the theme “Human Rights over Nuclear Might”. Since its founding, Veterans For Peace has had a goal “to end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.” The week will mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion of all time at the Trinity Site, New Mexico, which occurred on July 16, 1945).

The opening plenary session agenda is as follows.

First victims – Indigenous peoples’ loss of land. Marian Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo)

Second victims – Miners and processors. Leona Morgan (Diné)

Third victims – Downwinders and “Downstreamers”. Tina Cordova, Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium

Fourth victims – Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Yasuyo Tanaka

Fifth victims – The era of nuclear testing. Johnnie Bobb, Western Shoshone National Council

Ongoing sacrifice zone – Continued environmental impact and opportunity costs – Joni Arends, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

There is also a webinar planned that is being produced by Pace E Bene and co-sponsored by VFP, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, featuring:

Evelyn Naranjo of the San Ildefonso Pueblo;

Jay Coghlan of Nukewatch.org;

Roshi Joan Halifax of Upaya Zen Center;

Rev. John Dear of Pace e Bene; and a

Keynote by Dr. Ira Helfand, MD, a member of the International Steering Group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

Anyone may register for the convention; membership in VFP is not required. For more information, please see Veterans For Peace 2020 Online Convention.

AOC Responds: For Every Second of This Speech, I Kept Thinking Jan 2029, the 47th President of the US. May It Be So.

Friday, July 31, 7pm Free Online Concert with David Berkeley

David Berkeley

David Berkeley is a friend of ours and also just a wonderful singer-songwriter and story teller. He is doing a free live performance next Friday at 7pm via AMP. Click here to sign up and click below to hear why you should. I know what I’ll be doing Friday night. Check out one of David’s new songs below.

In solidarity and hope,
Paul and Roxanne



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4 replies

  1. I was shocked to read “…every NM Rep. and Senator sided with the GOP” to support the Pentagon budget and was ready to blister them each by email. Since I wanted to say such blameful things, I slowed down and managed to find the roll call votes on the Senate for the amendment sponsored by Sanders, Markey, and Warren to cut the budget by 10% as well as the matching House amendment sponsored by Pocan. Senator Udall voted FOR the amendment. Somewhat surprisingly, so did Congressman Lujan. I will have thank them for doing the right thing.
    However, Heinrich, who so often says, “Rest assured, I will do everything in my power to….” will hear from me about recognizing what is really in his power. If he hasn’t delivered the power to donors. (I’m not a constituent of Haaland or Torres Small so don’t know what they claim.)
    As this seems like the point of diminishing returns for my time, I may not track down votes for the final budget for the war machine of our very own bloated empire. That may be the vote referred to in this blog.

  2. Roxanne and Paul,
    Thank you for posting this.

    Veterans For Peace invites anyone who would do so to join in the Friday vigil during the run-up to Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75th anniversaries. Meet us at noon at the corner of Cerrillos and Saint Francis! Bring anti-nuke weapons signs if you will. That’s Friday the 31st of July and Friday the 7th of August. Let’s tell the city where we stand on nuclear weapons!

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