Your Tri-Valley CAREs team has just returned from a consequential week in Washington, DC meeting with members of Congress and the Biden Administration.  In DC, we were joined by 50 activists from other front-line communities around the country for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s “DC Days”. This was our first in person DC Days since 2019, which was instead held virtually in 2021 and 2022.

Our staff attorney, Scott Yundt, Board member, Pam Richard, and current executive director participated in – and often led – an all-day issues training before commencing our meetings with officials. More than 55 meetings were scheduled with Members of Congress, their staff, and federal agency staff, including the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management office, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, among others.

One blemish in an otherwise stellar week was that Marylia came down sick (not serious) and our remaining two team members redoubled their schedules to cover key meetings. Hooray for a “deep bench” within our group!

Our Tri-Valley CAREs team met with staff members for several of our local members of Congress including Representative Eric Swalwell, Representative Ro Khanna, and Representative Barbara Lee. We also had the pleasure of meeting with Representative Josh Harder, whose Central Valley district includes Livermore Lab’s Site 300 High Explosives Testing Range. (see picture)

Additionally, our team met with Members who sit on committees relevant to our issues, like Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) who leads the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development that has direct power over funding NNSA’s nuclear weapons programs at Livermore Lab and elsewhere. We also met with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which authorizes programs at the NNSA.

In those meetings, we discussed the broad range of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s issues that are detailed in the newly released (for DC Days) Report entitled, “Break the Cycle for a Safer Future.View the report here. This report was sent to every member of Congress with whom we met. It was partly authored by Marylia, so be sure to check it out!

In our meetings with local members of congress we also discussed some Livermore Lab specific issues, including limiting the huge nuclear expansion plans detailed in the recent Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement, restoring funding for the Superfund Cleanup at the Lab and the decommissioning and deconstruction of its remaining “high-risk excess facilities.” With Representative Harder we discussed Site 300 in particular.

The meetings ran the gamut, from information gathering expeditions, to educational exercises for staff on our issues, to extremely productive strategy sessions on how to address very specific budgetary and policy items. Relationships with the officials and staff we met with will continue as we work to cut the budget for dangerous new nuclear weapons programs and increase the budget for cleanup funding during the next few months. Stay tuned!

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