On Saturday, April 23, Tracy residents celebrated Earth Day by planting trees and learning about our natural resources during a celebration held on Ninth Street in downtown Tracy. This event was designed to empower, inspire and inform individuals on becoming active, responsible guardians and caretakers of our planet.

Tri-Valley CAREs was honored to participate in the event. We shared information with the community about Livermore Lab and its Site 300 high explosives testing range, which is located a mile from the Tracy city limits.

Our board Secretary, Gail Rieger, and our Bilingual Community Organizer, Raiza Marciscano-Bettis, asked festival participants if they knew about Site 300. They explained that Site 300 is an experimental testing site that supports the Lab’s nuclear weapons programs. Tracy residents also learned from Raiza and Gail that Site 300 is federal “Superfund” site, as is the Lab’s Main Site. The Environmental Protection Agency had placed the Main Site on its list of most poisoned sites in the country in 1987 and Site 300 joined the list in 1990.

Our team met families that had recently moved from the Bay Area into Tracy and hadn’t heard about Site 300. The ne residents were surprised when Tri-Valley CAREs told them that the Livermore Lab has plans to increase the size and power of open-air high explosives tests at Site 300 up to ten-fold, from the current 100-pound limit to up to 1,000 pounds of high explosive per blast. “How is this possible?” one concerned resident said. “How come we are not informed of things like this?” asked another one.

Residents also learned that nuclear weapons activities at Livermore Lab have resulted in hundreds of toxic and radioactive contaminants released into our air, soil, groundwater aquifer, and even some surface waters at Site 300.

Further, our Tri-Valley CAREs team discussed ways to prevent pollution and talked about how important is for the community to learn about these issues, so they can participate in decision-making in regards to the Livermore Lab and their community.

Many participants showed solidarity with Tri-Valley CAREs and some new relationships were established. It was gratifying to see that the community understands and is deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment.

“People said they know they need to do something in order to make changes,” Raiza noted as she and Gail packed up the group’s information booth.

Tri-Valley CAREs thanks all of the organizers as well as the participants who came to support Earth Day in Tracy! Our goal is to work with all of you, so that together we can protect the environment and the health of our community. This is the moment to create change. “Taking action can make the difference,” concluded Gail.