Reading Room

Livermore Lab Cancels Already-Arranged Tours

Dear members of the public who had wanted to attend the Livermore Lab toxic cleanup tour:

I regret to inform you of bad news. Please read carefully…

Tri-Valley CAREs has been working with Livermore Lab staff to offer these special community tours of locations undergoing cleanup under the Superfund law every year for the past 10 years or more.

The tours have proven very informative and useful for members of the public, offering a rare glimpse inside the classified fence lines of the Lab’s Site 300 high explosives testing range near Tracy and its Main Site in Livermore.

The process has always been that Tri-Valley CAREs confirms a date for each tour each year with Livermore Lab based on what date and time will work best for their schedule.

We repeated that process earlier this year. The Lab’s Site 300 management and technical staff chose November 30, 2016 as their tour date. The Main Site chose the follow day, December 1, 2016 for their tour.

After these dates were fully confirmed by Livermore Lab, we publicized them as we have always done. We make the tours accessible to community members on a “first come, first served” basis until the seats allotted on the Lab’s bus are full.

That has always been the process, until now.

Scott Wilson, of Livermore Lab’s public affairs department, recently called to inform us that the Lab has decided not to honor its commitment this year.

Scott went on to tell us that Livermore Lab would no longer grant Tri-Valley CAREs any community tours – not on November 30 or December 1, as promised, and also not on any other date either.

Scott said that Livermore Lab is considering offering its own community tours of the Superfund cleanup locations at the Main Site and Site 300 sometime in the future.

As the group’s executive director, I asked Scott if dates had been chosen, and he said “no” but maybe a tour might be offered “sometime in the spring” of 2017.

I asked if the locations - and the briefings by Livermore Lab technical staff - would be the same as the ones that we have obtained over the years - and Scott replied, “not really.”

He added the Lab’s tours, if and when they occurred, would be loosely “based on” the ones that Tri-Valley CAREs has negotiated over the past 10 years. But, they “would not be the same,” he repeated emphatically.

Therefore, there is no guarantee that these tours, if they do take place, will be as detailed, comprehensive, open and useful as the ones we have offered the public over the last 10 years. (Indeed, to offer credit where it is due, the Lab’s technical staff who do the cleanup work had been very informative on our past tours.)

Today, meaningful public involvement in the Superfund cleanups is being abruptly curtailed. This matters. Crucial decisions about cleanup standards (i.e., “how clean is clean?”), cleanup techniques and even the cleanup time lines themselves are all hanging in the balance.

According to the Superfund law, the public has a right to participate in cleanup decisions. Yet, the Lab is stifling the public’s rights. We won’t sit still for that!

As one remedy, Tri-Valley CAREs is now offering alternative cleanup tours, including an in-person “fence line” tour at the Lab’s Main Site and a “virtual” tour of Site 300 that will include innovative satellite mapping of the testing range.

Email for details. Or, call us at (925) 443-7148.

To learn more about our Nov. 10, 2016 meeting in Tracy, click here.

For more about the “fence line” tour of the Main Site on Dec. 1, 2016, click here.

Additional fence line and virtual tour dates and times are available to groups on request.

Join us! Exercise your human right to clean air, clean water and a healthy environment.


Marylia Kelley