Reading Room

May, 2008 Citizens Watch Newsletter

Bio-weapon Lawsuit Update

by Rob Schwartz from Tri-Valley CAREs' Citizens' Watch Newsletter

Tri-Valley CAREs filed suit against the Dept. of Energy (DOE), the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in March of this year. At issue in the case is DOE's compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in opening a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility at Livermore Lab. The BSL-3 will perform biodefense research involving numerous deadly bioagents and biotoxins, as well as genetically modified microorganisms. (For details, see our March 2008 Citizen's Watch and other materials at

Tri-Valley CAREs' lawsuit was filed in the federal district court in Oakland and will be heard before Judge Armstrong, who presided over an earlier lawsuit against the BSL-3 facility brought by Tri-Valley CAREs in partnership with Nuclear Watch of New Mexico. That suit ended in October 2006, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered DOE to consider whether the threat of terrorist activity necessitates the preparation of a full-fledged Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and public hearings, instead of a lower-level Environmental Assessment (EA).

In response to the Ninth Circuit's ruling, DOE (minimally) revised its original EA to consider the potential impacts of terrorist activity. That document was made available for public comment in March 2007. In January 2008, DOE issued a final EA and Finding of No Significant Impact for the facility and immediately commenced operations there. Tri-Valley CAREs is currently challenging the adequacy of the terrorism analysis that DOE was forced to conduct, as well as DOE's decision not to prepare an EIS. Also at issue in the case is whether DOE complied with federal regulations governing the public's right to know and fully comment on the project.

Along with a complaint, Tri-Valley CAREs filed a motion for preliminary injunction in March, which seeks to end operations at the BSL-3 facility until the court has time to rule on the merits of the group's case. A decision on Tri-Valley CAREs' motion is expected sometime in May. If the court fails to grant this motion, we may appeal that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court. Either way, the underlying NEPA issues in our lawsuit will continue to be heard by Judge Armstrong, and a decision is expected sometime later this year or early next year.

Reporting Back from the Halls of Power

by Jedidjah de Vries from Tri-Valley CAREs' Citizens' Watch Newsletter

Scores of us who live around U.S. nuclear weapons sites came together from across the country and converged on Washington, DC in April. We were in the nation's capital to contribute authentic voices and first-hand experiences from our communities to the crucial debate over the future of nuclear weapons.

This was the 20th annual "DC Days," hosted by the nationwide Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) and its member groups, including Tri-Valley CAREs. In the span of 4 days, key issue trainings and a flurry of more than one hundred meetings were conducted with U.S. Senators, Representatives and senior Bush Administration officials. We met with "conservatives" and "progressives" alike; with those who have long been allies, those who have opposed our aims, and many in-between.

Delivering the Message The message was delivered to all: Nuclear weapons adversely affect our health, our environment, our communities and our world. The U.S. policy and budget must be reoriented to stop making new bombs, achieve nuclear disarmament, and accomplish the needed cleanup of toxic and radioactive wastes from past nuclear programs.

ANA members groups spoke expertly and eloquently on a variety of specific topics, including the euphemistically-named Reliable Replacement Warhead, the Dept. of Energy's "Bombplex" plan, plutonium, the Yucca Mountain dump, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, and more.

Representing our Members Four of us from Tri-Valley CAREs were present in DC to represent you, our members and friends. We brought technical analyses to challenge the government's conventional "wisdom" that nuclear weapons make us safe. We also brought our stories of life in the Livermore community into the halls of power. We described the underground toxic water plumes emanating from Livermore Lab into our neighborhoods, decried the Lab's role in designing the RRW, and explained the positive future we want to see funded instead.

Last year, Tri-Valley CAREs and its colleague groups were successful in convincing Congress to cut funds for the RRW program. This year, the DOE hid up to $90 million in new RRW funding in four different parts of its fiscal year 2009 budget request. "In many of my meetings I went through the DOE budget line by line, showing Members of Congress where to find RRW funding," commented Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs' Executive Director. "I also explained our opposition to the 'Bombplex' and made concrete suggestions on what could be done instead."

"This was a very productive 'D.C. Days'," agreed the group's Outreach Director, Jedidjah de Vries. "We made a positive impact on Congress. And, we obtained a lot of good information in return about where various decision-makers stand on our issues. We will use everything we learned in DC as we continue to do effective advocacy and influence nuclear weapons policy."

Participating in Other Key Events In addition to the 100 meetings with decision-makers, "DC Days" featured several exciting events. For example, on Monday, April 14, ANA held a press conference and issued its "Radioactive Report Card" to the Dept. of Energy. On behalf of the activist network, Marylia Kelley delivered the DOE's sole A+ grade, a tongue-in-cheek mark given for the agency's repeated efforts promoting provocative new weapons programs. The press conference and report card garnered a number of media stories - capped by a page 3 color photo in Roll Call, a newspaper that is delivered to every congressional office.

On Tuesday night, a reception was held to honor exceptional work in stopping nuclear weapons over the past year. Congressional awards went to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Byron Dorgan and Representatives Pete Visclosky and David Hobson for cutting RRW funding. Also receiving special recognition were Christopher Paine of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Robert Alvarez of the Institute for Policy Studies. Each had amassed a stellar, multi-decade resume opposing nuclear weapons. The coveted ANA 2008 grassroots activist award went to Dr. Seth Tuler for outstanding efforts in promoting community health.

"It was heartening to spend time with scores of dedicated, amazing people from communities downstream and downwind of DOE facilities," noted Kelley. "Together, we spoke powerful truths and accomplished much. Now, we return home to continue the struggle."

People News: New Adventures and Opportunities

by Marylia Kelley from Tri-Valley CAREs' Citizens' Watch Newsletter

Congratulations are due to Jedidjah de Vries, Tri-Valley CAREs' energetic and creative Outreach Director. Jedidjah will be starting graduate school this summer - in Holland. Now, that's some exciting news. We expect great things from him and will be keeping in touch.

This also means we are looking for the right person to fill Jedidjah's shoes and become our next Outreach Director. Responsibilities include web-based outreach, event planning, public speaking and volunteer management. The full job description and qualifications are posted on our web site.

And, our best wishes go out to Urs Cipolat. Urs has been Tri-Valley CAREs' part-time Development Director for the past 4 years, alternating his responsibilities here with his teaching position at UC Berkeley. Urs is planning an extended stay in Switzerland, and, while we will miss him, we are happy that he is taking this opportunity in life to reconnect with the land of his birth and close relationships there. Urs will continue to write for Tri-Valley CAREs on a contract basis.

We are expanding the Development Director position, and are now seeking a full-time, experienced resources developer to plan, implement and direct a comprehensive multi-year fundraising plan, including foundation grants, major gifts, special events and individual donor appeals. See our web site for a complete job description.

Ann Seitz, our Office Manager for 8 years, is retired and having a great time in art class. Some of us had a chance to see Ann at the "Bombplex" hearings. With her was Tri-Valley CAREs' first Staff Attorney, Loulena Miles. Also present was former Organizer and current Board Secretary, Mary Perner. And, the hearings drew our prior Outreach Director, Tara Dorabji, and her twins (11 months old and walking!).

Two Ways You Can Help Tri-Valley CAREs Stop Nuclear Weapons...

by Marylia Kelley from Tri-Valley CAREs' Citizens' Watch Newsletter

1. Thwart Bush. Don't spend the so-called "stimulus" on unnecessary consumer goods. George W. Bush wants you to spend your $300 (or so) tax rebate on mindless products - supposedly to lift us out of the economic depression that he caused, in part by his disastrous, illegal war in Iraq. Do not fill up your gas tank and rush to the store.

Instead, make a tax-deductible donation to Tri-Valley CAREs. For 25 years now, we have been stopping nuclear weapons where they start, at Livermore Lab.

We will ensure that your "stimulus" is used to create peace, justice and a healthy environment - not more bombs and war. Go to and use the secure link to donate by credit card. Or, send your check to 2582 Old First St., Livermore, CA 94551.

2. See Bonnie Raitt. This amazing singer, guitarist, nine-time Grammy Winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and her band will be at Wente Vineyards on September 2, 2008 - and, thanks to Bonnie, the money from special seats she has set aside will go to benefit Tri-Valley CAREs.

The special GOLD & SILVER VIP seats are located in the Orchestra Section, Rows D and E. Gold Circle are $300 and include a fabulous show and a backstage visit with Bonnie. Silver Circle are $200 and offer great seats for a great cause.

To benefit Tri-Valley CAREs, tickets must be purchased through the non-profit Guacamole Fund. Benefit tickets are partially tax-deductible and are available only at

Questions? Call Marylia at (925) 443-7148. Thank you for helping us stop nuclear weapons.

Print Bites: All the News That Fits to Print

from Tri-Valley CAREs' Citizens' Watch Newsletter

Gutting GNEP. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) applauds the U.S. Senators who are opposing funds for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, a DOE initiative that includes reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel. Nine Senators sent a letter on April 24 to the Chair and Ranking Member of the subcommittee that will determine whether GNEP receives funding. The nine are: Russ Feingold (WI), Ron Wyden (OR), Edward Kennedy (MA), John Kerry (MA), Charles Schumer, (NY), Daniel Akaka (HI), Bernie Sanders (VT), Tom Harkin (IA) and Sherrod Brown (OH). During "DC Days," ANA groups met with many of the letter's signatories. See page 1 for our "report back."

New Commission. Just as we were conducting meetings this April in DC, Congress was in the process of "standing up" a bipartisan commission to examine U.S. strategic policy and the role of nuclear weapons. The commission was enabled by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate Armed Services Committees each nominated commission members of their choice. They are: William Perry (Chair), former Secretary of Defense and coauthor of the Kissinger, Perry, Nunn et al letter on disarmament; Johnny Foster, former Livermore Lab Director; Lee Hamilton, former Member of Congress and 9/11 commission vice-chair; Keith Payne, CEO and President of the National Institute for Public Policy and a principal architect of the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review; Ellen Williams, U of MD; Harry Cartland, former Livermore Lab staff; James Schlessinger, (Vice-Chair), former Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Defense; John Glenn, former Senator and advocate of environmental regulation of DOE; Fred Ikle, former Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director; Morton Halperin, former Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense for International Security; James Woolsey, former CIA Director; and, Bruce Tarter, former Livermore Lab Director. The legislation calls for a report in Dec. 2008. Most expect it to be issued in 2009. Still to be determined is the level of "public input" that the commission will accept. Stay tuned.

Stopping RRW. Twenty-eight national arms control, disarmament and religious organizations issued a joint letter last month to key congressional committees. The letter calls on Congress to prevent the Livermore Lab from developing a new H-bomb, the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). The Friends Committee on National Legislation organized the letter. Among the groups signing was ANA, a network that includes Tri-Valley CAREs. (More info on RRW inside.)

Scientists Say. On April 17, ninety-five prominent scientists called for major policy changes to lay the groundwork for a world without nuclear weapons. The "Scientists Statement on U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy" included more than 90 members of the National Academy of Sciences with 23 Nobel Prizes and 10 National Medals of Science. The U.S. must de-legitimize nuclear weapons as instruments of security policy, stated Kurt Gottfried, co-founder of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the group that organized the statement.

Alerts 4 You

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

Thursday, May 15
Tri-Valley CAREs meets
7:30 PM, Livermore Library
1188 So. Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

This is your invitation to join. New members and long-time members alike are welcome. Our May agenda items will include the latest on nuclear weapons, our bio-warfare research litigation, cleanup of toxic and radioactive pollutants at Livermore Lab, and "next steps" to achieve a more healthy, peaceful planet. Come share your thoughts and ideas. Together, we are making a positive difference in the world.

Friday, May 16
Show Your Opposition to War Local Vigil and Sign Holding
5:30 - 6:30 PM, downtown Livermore
Fountains at First St. & Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Demonstrate the power of local resistance. Participate in Livermore's monthly anti-war vigil and action. Bring a sign, or come and make one there. We will have supplies as well as ready-made signs.

Wednesday, June 4
Sick Worker Support Group meets
10 AM, Livermore Library
1188. So. Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

If you or a family member has suffered an illness due to on-the-job exposures at Livermore Lab, Sandia Lab, or another Dept. of Energy site, this support group is for you. We will share the latest information on the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) and other topics of interest to current and former workers.

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