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  • Bulletin #140: Administration Hints at Smaller Nuclear Force Amid Wider Defense Cutbacks, Jan 8, 2012
    project as the first place to start cutting waste in nation s warhead complex The benefits of a smarter nuclear weapons policy will spread beyond the Pentagon The Energy Department should be able to trim billions as well from its related spending starting with a halt on a plutonium storage and production facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico This is also the view of Congress as evidenced in the recent Consolidated Appropriations Act which singled out CMRR as the best place to cut from NNSA s over ambitious infrastructure modernization plans There is a great deal happening in Washington on these matters and in a few minutes I will be flying there for the week where I will be meeting with various officials and colleagues on pending stockpile stewardship and budget issues which are now in rapid flux Also I have been invited to a symposium hosted by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on broader threats energy climate and so on and will enjoy meeting with friends new and old there These trips are very productive we have unusual access high in government and we thank many of you for supporting them Trish and Peter will be working hard here in my absence as usual Tomorrow we will file our Reply in our Appeal in the Tenth Circuit regarding NNSA s failure to produce an applicable environmental impact statement EIS prior to implementing CMRR fully briefing that Appeal In our second lawsuit which includes the issues covered in the first but also new issues raised by the bogus supplemental EIS the Department of Justice DOJ has produced one of its more fascist briefs which claims that the government and the government alone should decide the scope of evidence and that citizens should not even be allowed trials

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin140.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #139: NNSA, LANL "tight-lipped" re: spending $170M on CMRR-NF; thank you all; what you can do; Dec 31, 2011
    Fleck put it The start of construction on a new plutonium laboratory at Los Alamos will be delayed at least a year because of a congressional decision to throttle back funding for the project and restrict how the money can be spent The congressional action also raises questions about the long term prospects for the new Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility Lab and federal officials have been tight lipped in the wake of the decision this month to allocate 200 million for the project rather than the 300 million the administration requested for fiscal year 2012 Congress also restricted the funding saying none of it could be used to start construction Fleck s story was picked up by the Associated Press and in another version distributed on Capitol Hill by a trade journal The gloss on the mighty CMRR NF is fading Legal developments In our appeal to the Tenth Circuit of what we now call LASG I the federal defendants filed their Response pdf a week early so we could have the pleasure of working through the holidays on our Reply which is underway In our second lawsuit LASG II we filed a motion to initiate the discovery process pdf which we expect defendants to oppose Los Alamos and NNSA have never liked fact based discussion in any forum they do not control What can I do Especially but not limited to TODAY reaching out to friends and acquaintances who can make a financial contribution is important Many of you have already responded to our recent requests For major donors and political donors financial participation is also important politically More than money is involved In the same vein it is more powerful than we usually think to talk to your neighbors and friends share information and plot your own action Every person s situation is different and what each of us can do at any given time is very different too If you can reach out to people with power and agency not merely to numerous atomized citizens The same amount of effort will be much more productive Be politically realistic There is great value in autonomous small groups of civically interested persons not just for any single goal but for all of them You might want to see http www lasg org Connect pdf and http www lasg org what HelpStopLANLNuclearFacility html All the information you need is at http www lasg org CMRR open page htm If a single one of the New Mexico congressional delegation publicly or even secretly opposed CMRR NF it would die That s your challenge For people outside New Mexico here are the congressional appropriators who are in the best position to kill it http www lasg org ActionAlerts Bulletin135 html But now let s very briefly look deeper because we are all barraged by debased answers to this perennial question What are we trying to accomplish exactly Gandhi wrote pdf p 173 There is no road except through living

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin139.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #138: Study Group named one of top ten small green groups in U.S., Counterpunch, Dec 23, 2011
    hits the nail on the sometimes difficult head It takes guts for an environmental group to stand up to a Democratic president in an election year and call him on his betrayals You risk being marginalized and stripped of your funding by the Democratic aligned foundations that underwrite most of the mainstream groups Here are ten groups who stand up for what they stand on who put protection of the environment before politics They all operate close to the bone their meager budgets are spent on activism and litigation not on self promoting direct mail operations glitzy offices or bloated administrative expenses These groups will put your money to work defending the planet Now pony up In solidarity Greg Trish and the Los Alamos Study Group P S Below the line see today s update on the status of CMRR NF from the leading trade publication From Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor December 23 2011 emphasis added EXCAVATION WORK CONCRETE PLANT ON HOLD AT CMRR NF Congressional action to cut the budget request and place restrictions on funding for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory will delay the project s Nuclear Facility CMRR NF but will allow work to be completed on the adjacent light lab and office building that is part of the project according to a National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman In the FY12 budget constrained environment we are pleased the CMRR project will be able to remain on plan to finish equipping the Radiological Laboratory and Utility Office Building ahead of schedule and substantially complete CMRR NF design later this year The conference agreement did delay the FY12 construction activities for the CMRR NF which will defer the first phases of construction for CMRR NF said NNSA spokesman Josh McConaha The Radiological Laboratory and Utility Office Building RLUOB is already built and office space is currently occupied with lab equipment installation to be done this year In the face of sharp criticism over delays and growing costs associated with the overall CMRR project the ontime on budget completion sic it s the rubber baseline problem again of the smaller RLUOB has been a point of pride for the lab and its federal managers But the Congressional action suggests problems for CMRR NF which is by far the larger part of the project Approps Bill Restricts FY12 Construction Work The administration s budget request to Congress identified some 30 million in additional costs for equipping RLUOB which will be funded in the 200 million Congress appropriated for the work this year The funding is 100 million short of the Obama Administration s 300 million request for the project and there is widespread speculation that the project could face even steeper cuts in FY2013 The final bill explicitly states that no construction activities are funded for CMRR NF with the money allocated An ongoing review of lab procurement actions done by Trish Williams Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group has identified 45

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin138.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #137: Solstice greetings: on CMRR, real progress; our plans for 2012; please help financially; and thank you, Dec 21, 2011
    troublesome stratum of unconsolidated volcanic ash Supposedly NNSA and LANS will bring the final design to 90 complete this fiscal year and produce a so called project baseline a relatively firm cost set of requirements and schedule for the project Without detracting at all from the conscientious work being done by many people on this deeply misguided project how could an external observer not conclude that this project was a kind of slush fund At the DOE laboratories inefficiency and exaggerated needs are the structural norm and of the hard working people most of them we assume are penalized for it In other news the Consolidated Appropriations Act also requires NNSA to prepare a report on maintaining pit manufacturing capability to meet stockpile needs within three months of passage p 69 pdf NNSA s whole approach to pit manufacturing now must be reexamined In another piece of good news the Defense Authorization Act requires NNSA to search for redundancies and inefficiencies in the nuclear warhead complex Section 3123 pp 1028ff pdf Such a search is long overdue Let us hope the project is not hijacked by people including some nonprofits in New Mexico and elsewhere who have thought there were major efficiencies to be gained by closing down sites and rebuilding capabilities elsewhere e g New Mexico The most efficient simplest cheapest and most practical paths forward all involve removing inefficiencies and redundant missions at the present sites where the best facilities are and the necessary skills are already resident There is no conflict between good management and progressive nuclear disarmament They go well together There are other important parts of these acts which we will summarize on a later occasion For more background please see The Year s End Brings Real Disarmament That You Can Touch and Feel Foreign Policy in Focus Russ Wellen Dec 21 2011 Budget bill approved by House cuts spending for nuke lab prohibits construction Associated Press Dec 16 2011 Bulletin 136 Appropriations bill slashes funding for new plutonium lab at Los Alamos disallows construction in FY2012 Dec 16 2011 Defense authorization bill would slash FY2012 funding for new plutonium lab at Los Alamos press release Dec 14 2011 Our litigation is proceeding well in both lawsuits See this page and this November 29 2011 update I don t want to say too much more about these cases here except that we aim to win both cases and have recently received favorable procedural rulings in each Our litigation has been indispensable in delaying CMRR NF construction until Congress could say as they did last week that this project was not ready Our first case has been highly successful so far federal defendants had to halt their planned construction for over a year during pendency of the supplemental environment impact statement SEIS that defendants had to produce to defend themselves from us That delay continued past the SEIS Record of Decision up to a few days ago when it was superseded by the above new law

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin137.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #136: Appropriations bill slashes funding for new plutonium lab at Los Alamos, disallows construction in FY2012, Dec 12, 2011
    disallows construction in FY2012 Contact Greg Mello 505 265 1200 or 505 577 8563 L ast night House and Senate conferees issued their megabus appropriations bill for fiscal year FY 2012 link is to managers report pdf for Division B Energy and Water Development The entire bill and its accompanying report can be found at the House Rules Committee web site This bill is almost certain to pass both houses of Congress today or tomorrow and be signed by the President right away In parallel to the Defense Authorization Act already sent to the President but with greater weight and import the bill appropriates only 63 of the requested funds for the proposed additional plutonium facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL slashing 100 million M from the 270 M proposed spending level in the project Funds appropriated for nuclear Weapons Activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration NNSA total 7 23 billion B in the bill about 5 less than the Administration s 7 630 B request and a 5 increase over FY2011 As regards CMRR the conference bill follows the approach of the House Appropriations Committee s June 15 markup Again exactly in parallel to the FY2012 Defense Authorization Act CMRR and the neighboring TA 55 Reinvestment Project TRP designed to upgrade PF 4 and make it safer were the only NNSA Weapons Activities construction projects cut TRP was cut from 19 4 M to 10 0 M a relatively small sum which can be covered from operating expenses The proposed CMRR cut is 90 of the total proposed cut in new NNSA construction NNSA s other proposed massive project the Uranium Processing Facility UPF slated to be built at the Y 12 Nuclear Security Site in Tennessee was not cut at all In addition NNSA must now prepare a new report on maintaining pit manufacturing capability to meet actual stockpile needs within three months of passage of this legislation p 69 In other words NNSA s prior approach to pit manufacturing must now be reexamined presumably in light of alternatives Study Group Director Greg Mello The decision to cut back spending on the proposed additional plutonium facility at Los Alamos and to delay construction for at least one year is now a consensus in Congress It has bicameral bipartisan support in all four relevant committees and will pass both houses We are very pleased that Congress has substantially agreed with our analysis regarding the need to delay this project and has also endorsed our call to reexamine alternatives for managing pit production We have listed a number of possible alternatives and look forward to discussing them with NNSA and Congress We believe no new facilities are needed NNSA should now pause design of this project already a mega boondoggle which would save taxpayers over 100 million this year alone and many billions of dollars later should it ever be built and operated NNSA could legally use some of its CMRR line item funding to pursue the study

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin136.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #135: Toward defeat of CMRR: progress & portents, Nov 28, 2011
    sets in motion a potential decrease in the funds available for national security accounts over the next 9 years As near as I can tell the discretionary portion of the military budget would still eventually grow despite these caps from an estimated 491 billion in FY2013 55 billion or about 10 less than previously estimated to 589 billion in FY2021 I derive these numbers from the Congressional Budget Office analysis here Several other good analyses are available for those who wish to look for them By the way CBO s federal income and deficit analyses rest upon assumptions some of us consider unrealistically optimistic for reasons offered here pdf slides 38 45 The fiscal outlook is very likely bleaker than official Washington acknowledges While there have been many loud calls from the usual suspects to undo these caps which include NNSA nuclear weapons spending President Obama so far has said as recently as today that he will not entertain them Many Republicans now support decreases in defense spending as do many conservative lobbying organizations pdf These organizations recognize that their deficit reduction goals cannot be met without Pentagon reform Overall it is not clear if calls to restore the previous growth rate of defense spending and nuclear weapons spending will ultimately be successful Right now tomorrow the White House must deliver its budget directions to federal agencies for the coming fiscal year and these directions will need to include these new budget limits How the necessary cuts will be apportioned between agencies has been and will continue to be the subject of intense negotiation If NNSA gets a 10 haircut from the level previously proposed for FY2013 which may or may not happen it will be very difficult to build CMRR NF right now It would certainly be foolish to try as at least one NNSA official has acknowledged to us More or less contemporaneously with the Supercommittee s failure the DOE Inspector General has issued sweeping recommendations for reform at DOE and NNSA even including a suggestion that the latter agency be abolished DOE Auditor Calls for Restructuring National Labs Global Security Newswire Nov 18 2011 To say the least sweeping reform of DOE and NNSA is now a legitimate subject in Washington On yet another front the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board DNFSB held an important hearing in Santa Fe on safety of the nuclear facilities at Los Alamos Oversight board questions adequacy of LANL efforts to protect against quake Associated Press Nov 17 2011 Links to the entire seven or so hours of video recorded at this hearing are here This was the most substantive hearing many of us have attended in many years a very far cry from the fake hearings orchestrated by NNSA in the National Environmental Policy Act NEPA context At this hearing NNSA repeatedly refused to commit to any maximum theoretical dose to members of the public from a postulated accident anywhere including Los Alamos and also repeatedly refused to prioritize the funding

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin135.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #134: Public talk and Q&A Wed, Nov 16, 7pm, Santa Fe
    past two months working with colleagues on and off the Hill and have much to report If you want to join our efforts and meet members of the group Wednesday s meeting in Santa Fe would be a good place to start 2 Please consider becoming a Sustaining Donor pdf print and mail to us here even at the smallest level if necessary Of those receiving this email only 1 are monthly donors 3 To our donors and volunteers over these past years thank you so much The tide is slowing turning against expanding the plutonium complex in Los Alamos Turning but not as yet turned Much remains to be done without which construction is likely to begin as early as January We are at a crucial stage 4 For folks not in New Mexico please write get your organizations to write and if you can get your congressperson and senators to write the leaders of the appropriations committees to 1 cut funds for and 2 stop the additional plutonium facility in Los Alamos See for example this recent précis of the issues Write In the House Appropriations Committee In the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers R KY Chairman Dan Inouye D HI Ranking Member Norm Dicks D WA Ranking Member Thad Cochran R MS In the Energy and Water Development Subcommittees Chairman Rodney P Frelinghuysen R NJ Chairman Dianne Feinstein D CA Ranking Member Peter J Visclosky D IN Ranking Member Lamar Alexander R TN 5 Our two lawsuits regarding CMRR are very active Our first suit has delayed the project for a year and a quarter so far at considerable cost to us We will provide a status report on Wednesday 6 None of New Mexico s news media have provided in depth coverage of this massive

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin134.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #133: Making some headway - Request for help, Oct 31, 2011
    Fe Businesses Oppose Proposed Plutonium Lab a story by Roger Snodgrass in the Santa Fe New Mexican interviewing some of the business owners that sponsored the ad Gail Haggard owner of Plants of the Southwest another sponsor of the ad said the current plans to proceed were a continuation of the insanity Indeed 2 Please become a sustaining donor if you are not one already or undertake a bit of outreach Please consider becoming a sustaining donor even at a very low level We are deeply grateful for the regular monthly donations we receive that enable us to keep the doors open and the lights on first of all but so much more than that It is a real benefit to be able to count on a specific amount of money coming in each month freeing us up from the endless task of fundraising and allowing us to do the work that you count on seeing come out of this office If you have not already signed up to be a regular donor please consider this commitment We appreciate any level of support that you can manage If you would like to become a sustaining donor to the Study Group please download print out and fill in this pdf form Then mail it to our office 2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque NM 87106 If you have any trouble with this process please do not hesitate to call Trish at 505 3265 1200 We are also happy to mail you a form from our office if that is easier And of course you can donate at any time on line 4 5 is taken out by the on line service for processing by mailing a check with no processing fee to Los Alamos Study Group 2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque NM 87106 or by a gift of stock or other property please call Trish at 505 265 1200 No contribution is too small or too large The Study Group is a 501 c 3 organization and all donations are tax deductible Be an ambassador for us or with us This can take an array of forms depending on one s personal situation inclination and interest This outreach might have primarily a political character or a social character or a fundraising character It could be something you mostly do yourself with your own stamp and a nod or hat tip to us or it could be outreach specifically on our behalf You can do things we can t you know people we don t you are in places we aren t and each of you has a whole 24 hours every day other people do not Greg We ourselves have no more hours to give but even if we did have those hours we would not have your unique standpoint in society your friends your creativity and will 3 Report back from DC The Study Group s Greg Mello and Peter Neils just returned from a week of meetings in Washington where

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