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Santa Fe shouldn’t become a nuclear sacrifice zone

This is an open letter to Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and the City Council:

We, the Los Alamos Study Group, have now 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?

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).

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.

Lydia Clark is outreach director-Santa Fe for the Los Alamos Study Group.

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