Reading Room

July, 2008 Citizen's Watch Newsletter

Download the PDF

Livermore Lab Seeks Hazardous and Explosives Waste Permit

by Rob Schwartz from Tri-Valley CAREs' July 2008 newsletter, Citizens' Watch

Public Hearing July 17, 2008
Public Comment Period ends August 18, 2008

The CA Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) recently issued a draft Permit Renewal and draft Negative Declaration for three hazardous and explosives waste facilities at Livermore Lab's Site 300, an experimental, high explosives test site located in the eastern Altamont Hills near Tracy.

DTSC has the authority to regulate hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal at Site 300. The documents, prepared by DTSC, clear the way for the continued operation of the Site 300 waste facilities, which are used to store and treat hazardous and explosive waste products generated by the Livermore Lab Main Site in Livermore and Site 300.

If the permit is approved, the Building 883 Container Storage Area would be allowed to increase its hazardous liquid waste storage from 3,300 to 5,500 gallons. The treatment capacity for the Explosive Waste Treatment Facility (EWTF) Burn Pan would be reduced from 150 pounds per event or day to 100 pounds per event or day, and the overall Explosive Waste Storage Facility storage capacity for explosives waste would be reduced to 15,836 pounds.

Tri-Valley CAREs opposes the draft Permit Renewal and draft Negative Declaration on a number of grounds. First, because the permit will allow an increase in liquid storage capacity from 3,300 to 5,500 gallons?a 67% increase?it's really a permit modification, rather than a permit renewal.

Also, Tri-Valley CAREs believes that it was not appropriate for DTSC to issue the draft Negative Declaration. A Negative Declaration is only justified if a project will not have a substantial impact on human health and the environment. Since the continued operation of these facilities at Site 300 is likely to have a number of environmental impacts, a Negative Declaration should not be issued.

Instead, we believe that DTSC must prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to study these impacts. An EIR is a detailed informational document that analyzes a project's potential significant effects and identifies mitigation measures and reasonable alternatives to avoid those effects.

Explosives waste will be treated by "controlled burn/open detonation" at the Site 300 EWTF, which is the only facility of its kind in CA. This process normally results in the complete conversion of the waste into gases and carbon ash, thereby releasing any hazardous and toxic substances into the fragile San Joaquin Valley Air Basin.

Controlled burn/open detonation is so environmentally damaging that Livermore Lab has stated that it would not be possible to receive permitting approval for these activities at the Lab's Main Site "in today's environment." Tri-Valley CAREs believes that if this process is too harmful for the Main Site, it should not be done at Site 300.

To make matters worse, the Lab and DTSC failed to provide a complete list of the waste to be treated at the EWTF. However, we do know that dioxins and furans could be included. These substances are known to cause a variety of health effects, including cancer, changes in hormone levels, skin disease, reproductive issues, and suppressed immune system.

In addition, it is likely that continued operation of the EWTF will impact biological resources, including the San Joaquin Kit fox, Large-Flowered Fiddleneck, and CA tiger salamander, three federally-listed endangered species. A risk assessment prepared for the EWTF states that more soil sampling is necessary to study these impacts, yet DTSC has chosen to issue the draft Permit Renewal and draft Negative Declaration before this sampling has been performed. At a minimum, DTSC needs to err on the side of caution by studying these impacts before allowing the facilities to continue operating.

Another area that DTSC has overlooked concerns earthquake hazards. A recent study indicates a 63% chance for a magnitude 6.7 or greater seismic event in the Bay Area in the next 30 years. Such an event could severely damage or destroy the facilities, releasing hazardous and explosives wastes into the environment. These potential impacts need to be studied, which DTSC has not done.

Finally, DTSC ignored the possibility that a mishap?whether the result of accident, oversight, mechanical failure, or failure to comply with applicable regulations?will result in substantial impacts to the environment. Given Livermore Lab's long history of such mishaps, an incident of this nature is, unfortunately, to expected.

On July 17, DTSC will hold a public meeting and hearing at the Tracy Sports Complex, 955 Crossroads Dr., beginning at 6:30 PM. Tri-Valley CAREs' staff attorney, Rob Schwartz, will be there with information to share with the community. We hope to see you.

A sample letter is posted on our website. Please download it, add any comments you wish, and sign and mail it to the address provided. Written comments are due by August 18, 2008.

Nagasaki Survivor at Livermore Lab 8/9

by Janine Carmona and Marylia Kelley from Tri-Valley CAREs' July 2008 newsletter, Citizens' Watch

August 9, 2008 might be just another day for the U.S. government. The nuclear weapons designers at Livermore Lab may not mark it.

But those who value peace and justice will commemorate August 9 ? and we ask you and all people who value the same to commemorate it with us. This August 9 will be the 63rd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. Three days earlier, on August 6, 1945, the first nuclear weapon used in war unleashed unimaginable terror and death on the people of Hiroshima. Then, Nagasaki.

It is estimated that 220,000 died before the end of 1945. And, those two atomic bombs are still killing. Each August 6 and 9, the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki read the names of those who have died that year due to the lingering effects of nuclear radiation.

The U.S. government has yet to issue an apology. Recently, President Bush turned down an invitation to visit the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Museum during his trip to Japan for the G8 Summit.

Perhaps the U.S. government would prefer that the effects of nuclear weapons go unnoticed. Possibly Livermore Lab wants to disassociate its efforts to create new nuclear weapons from the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Maybe they don't like the public to be reminded that the entire nuclear cycle, from uranium mining to weapons production to war, damages the health of communities - in Livermore and around the globe.

Fortunately there are many people who believe the victims of August 6th and 9th should be remembered and honored. There are many who believe that there should never be any more victims of the creation or use of nuclear weapons.

Tri-Valley CAREs and other Bay Area groups are working to ensure that August 9, 2008 stands as a day of remembrance, a day of deepening our understanding of the nuclear fuel cycle and a day of rededicating ourselves and our efforts to achieve a nuclear weapons free future for all.

We invite you to join us for "Looking Back, Looking Forward;" a commemoration with speakers, music and activities at the Livermore nuclear weapons Lab. Livermore Lab is one of two locations that has designed every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. We will stand together to insist that the U.S. stop developing new nuclear bombs and, instead, move to the abolition of nuclear weapons and war.

Near the Lab's fence line, we will erect the "nuclear maze," which participants can walk through, learning as they go about the impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear power on local and global communities.

We will listen to a keynote address by Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka, an Hibakusha (survivor) of the Nagasaki bomb, and music by Kaylah Marin.

This August 9 is part of "Nuclear Free Future Month," recently declared by United for Peace and Justice as a special month of awareness and activism to stop nuclear madness. "Nuclear Free Future Month" will include numerous events around the country and in the Bay Area.

What: Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration, with keynote address by Mr. Nobuaki Hanaoka, minister and survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki

When: Saturday, August 9, 2008. Gather and enter the "nuclear maze" at 10:30 AM, observe a moment of silence at the time the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki at 11:02 AM, and then listen to music and our keynote speaker.

Where: Livermore nuclear weapons Lab, Corner of Vasco Rd. and Patterson Pass Rd., Livermore.

Tri-Valley CAREs Proudly Introduces Two New Staff...

from Tri-Valley CAREs' July 2008 newsletter, Citizens' Watch

Meet Adrian Drummond-Cole: Hello. I am the Program & Administrative Associate at Tri-Valley CAREs. I recently graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where I studied English Literature and Language. During my third year, I lived and studied in Cape Town, South Africa. Living and traveling in Southern Africa left an indelible imprint on my ethics and politics.

Upon returning to Santa Barbara, I became an active member in the Coalition to Demilitarize the University of California, helped found the Associated Student's Department of Energy Lab Oversight Committee (DOELOC), and worked tirelessly as a community and anti-war organizer.

As Program & Administrative Associate, one of my first projects is to create a new website for Tri-Valley CAREs. My other responsibilities include research and writing about Tri-Valley CAREs' core programs, assisting with media outreach, and making sure the office is well stocked and well organized. I currently live in a collective house with room mates, haunt happening cafe's, and play drums in a frenetic dance-pop band.

Meet Janine Carmona: I am the new Outreach Director here at Tri-Valley CAREs. As I write this, I am starting my second week in the Tri-Valley CAREs office, and my second week living and working in the Bay Area. I hope that as Outreach Director I can live up to the amazing track record of this organization as well as to your expectations. As Outreach Director I would like to thank everyone who has volunteered and supported us in the past, and I look forward to meeting and working with you in the future.

I am writing to you all because my job here at Tri-Valley CAREs actually depends on you. At a grassroots organization like Tri-Valley CAREs our job is not only to meet our goals for nuclear disarmament, but to meet the needs for empowerment and information in the community as well. It is toward those goals for community empowerment and information that I respectfully ask for your wisdom and participation. The staff here at Tri-Valley CAREs cannot do what we do alone. We depend on your time and insight. Tri-Valley CAREs has a myriad of important ways that community members can participate: attending our monthly meetings, speaking to the City Council, writing letters to the editor, distributing information to the public, interning, volunteering in our office and participating in events are just a few. I encourage you to take these opportunities, and also to share your ideas for outreach with me.

Feel free to send me an email, write me a letter, give me a call, or pay me a visit at the Tri-Valley CAREs office. If you see the need for a program, a training, or information that TVC may be able to provide I hope that you will contact me. Also, if you are interested in volunteering or doing any of the important activities I mentioned above please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Strategic Planning Retreat

from Tri-Valley CAREs' July 2008 newsletter, Citizens' Watch

DATE: Saturday, August 16, 2008

TIME: 9:45 AM to 4 PM (Bring something to share for a fun potluck lunch. Drinks and place settings provided.)

PLACE: United Christian Church 1886 College Ave., Livermore (Lots of street parking is available.)

DIRECTIONS:

  • From the West: Take I-580 East, take the Portola Avenue exit, turn right on P Street, turn left on College Avenue.
  • From the East: Take I-205 West toward San Francisco, merge onto I-580 West, take exit #54/First Street/Springtown Blvd. onto First Street toward the downtown, turn left on South L Street, turn right on College Avenue.

THE SETTING: Airy and tranquil, well equipped and easy to reach, United Christian Church is a relaxing place in which to contemplate a "green vision" for Livermore Lab and a nuclear weapons free world for future generations. Come nurture your activist spirit and help plan the best possible path for Tri-Valley CAREs in the coming year.

WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE? If you are a Tri-Valley CAREs member, supporter, volunteer, staff or board member, then the answer is "YOU." If you want to give peace a strategy -- and work with us to carry it out in the coming months -- we welcome your participation.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO? First, RSVP to Tri-Valley CAREs. We will send you a packet with guidance on how to do strategic planning, the agenda for the retreat, and other relevant information.

RSVP Space is limited. Call or email today. (925) 443-7148, marylia@trivalleycares.org

Help set the goals and strategies for a respected, effective, dynamic "watchdog" organization -- your very own Tri-Valley CAREs

Alerts 4 You

from Tri-Valley CAREs' July, 2008 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Thursday, July 17
Tri-Valley CAREs meets
7:30 - 9 PM, Livermore Library
1188 South Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Join us. There is a lot going on. At our July meeting, we will discuss the August peace action at Livermore Lab, the latest on the Lab's security fiasco (and what we can do), the Lab's new hazardous waste permit, our bio-warfare litigation, and much more. Get the latest information, help plan next steps and meet new and old friends ? including 2 new staff members. Don't miss this meeting.

Thursday, July 17
Public Hearing on Hazardous Waste and Livermore Lab Site 300 Permit
6:30 PM until all comments are heard,
Tracy Sports Complex
955 Crossroads Drive, Tracy
(510) 540-3946 / (925) 443-7148

This is a public hearing conducted by the state Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). At issue is whether and under what conditions DTSC should renew the Livermore Lab Site 300's hazardous waste treatment and storage permit. The draft permit contains an increase in the allowable amount of liquid hazardous waste storage at Site 300 ? from 3,300 gallons to 5,500 gallons. The draft permit also covers Site 300's explosive storage facility and its explosive waste treatment facility and burn pan.Core issues include open detonation and burn of toxic wastes at Site 300 in Tracy. Currently, the DTSC has issued a draft Negative Declaration for the permit, which means the state is poised to issue a final permit without any additional mitigation to protect public health and the environment. Tri-Valley CAREs will raise a number of objections and make recommendations to protect the public.

This hearing is scheduled for the same evening as Tri-Valley CAREs' July meeting( see above). Therefore, we will have some of our staff at the public hearing in Tracy and some at the TVC meeting in Livermore. We will also have "sign on? public comments on the draft permit available at both meetings.

Friday, July 18
Local Vigil and Sign Holding
Show your opposition to war
5:30 - 6:30 PM, downtown Livermore
Fountains at First St. and Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Demonstrate the power of local opposition to the war in Iraq and impending war on Iran. Participate in Livermore's monthly anti-war vigil, which is part of the national "Iraq Moratorium." Bring a sign, or come and make one there. We will have supplies as well as ready- made signs.

Saturday, August 9
Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration
Gather 10:30 AM, Livermore Lab
Vasco Rd. & Patterson Pass Rd.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Tri-Valley CAREs and allied groups are planning a commemoration of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the gates of the Livermore Lab on Saturday, August 9. Come at 10:30 AM to walk through the "nuclear maze? and learn about the impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear power on communities. At 11:02 AM, we will observe a moment of silence to mark when the atomic bomb was dropped August 9, 1945 on Nagasaki, Japan. Our keynote speaker will be Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka, a survivor of the Nagasaki bomb who will share his experiences. Kaylah Marin will provide musical inspiration.

If you can volunteer to help with pre-event tasks or at the rally site August 9, please call Janine or Adrian at the Tri-Valley CAREs office, (925) 443-7148. We need volunteers of all kinds. (Additionally, our web calendar has information about other Bay Area and Central Valley Hiroshima/Nagasaki events.)

Saturday, August 16
Tri-Valley CAREs' planning retreat
9:45 AM ? 4 PM, community meeting
space at the United Christian Church
1886 College Ave., Livermore
RSVP required, (925) 443-7148

It's almost time for our 2008 strategic planning retreat. Tri-Valley CAREs' members, supporters, volunteers, staff and board meet together each summer to plan the group's strategy for the coming year. Our strength comes from the active participation of all sectors of our organization. So, if you see yourself reflected in any one of the five categories listed above, we urge you to join us in this facilitated retreat. This is your invitation to take part in molding the strategic outlines of our work. Together, we are making a positive difference in the world. This year's retreat will be held in Livermore. RSVP is required. You will receive "how to" materials on strategic planning along with details of this year's retreat. Call Marylia at (925) 443-7148.

Back to Citizen's Watch Index