The Department of Energy and its sub agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration, have been categorically ignoring Tri-Valley CAREs request for documents for the past three years. By failing to provide any documents in response to eight different requests, the agencies have violated the Freedom of Information Act and forced the group to file suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Click here for our Complaint
Tri-Valley CAREs requests documents from these agencies on a wide variety of topics that all relate to the group’s mission. The documents requested include:
- Documentation regarding an Occurrence Report from 10/01/18 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, (“LLNL”) in which an incident occurred with radioactive materials shipped via FedEx from the Lab resulting in potential worker exposures and missing material. (Requested 6/19/19)
- Documents pertaining to an Occurrence Report regarding an investigation into ventilation problems in Building 132 at the LLNL. (Requested 6/19/19)
- Documents pertaining to an Occurrence Report regarding the failure of a Tritium room monitor in building 331 at LLNL and the potential exposure of workers to this radioactive material. (Requested 6/19/19)
- Documents relating to the two air shipments of special nuclear material, including, but not limited to plutonium, from Los Alamos National Laboratory in June 2017. One shipment was sent to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and on to Savannah River Site. (Requested 1/30/20)
- Full FY2021 Performance Evaluation Reports for all of the sites reviewed, including but not limited to: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nevada National Security Site, Kansas City National Security Campus, NNSA Production Office, Sandia National Laboratories (NM and CA), and Savannah River Site. (Requested 2/23/22)
- Documents regarding a temporary shutdown of LLNL’s Contained Firing Facility (CFF) at its Site 300 High Explosives Testing Range in 2021. (Requested 3/24/22)
- Documents regarding Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC’s failure to ‘meet some W-80-4 milestones and W87-1 Scope and deliverables’ according to the Fiscal year 2021 Performance Evaluation. (Requested 4/14/22)
- A document titled” Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Packaging Requirements, for Storage of LANL and LLNL Pits (U), RM257919, Issue J, November 6, 2018.”
FOIA gives federal agencies 20 days to respond to requests with documents. While it provides an additional 10 days for requests that might be complicated, it absolutely does not allow for agencies to take multiple months or years to respond. Tri-Valley CAREs alleges in its complaint that the agencies have displayed a pattern and practice of violating FOIA by failing to respond to the group’s requests. It should be noted that Tri-Valley CAREs has sued these agencies for violating FOIA many times in its nearly 40 year history.
The current case is set for its first hearing with Judge Laurel Beeler in February. Hopefully the Judge will compel the agencies to produce the requested documents as soon as possible. We will be reporting on the lawsuit as it progresses and on the documents received as they roll in. Check back for more soon.