A US Department of Energy Consent-Based Siting Public Meeting
Place: Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, 800 Spring Street N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308
Time: April 11, 2016, 12:00 Noon to 6:00 PM
Why: The federal government is looking for places to dump tens of thousands of tons of radioactive waste from the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants. They are looking for volunteer communities who would consent to taking this waste.
Questions: Why would any community volunteer to take this dangerous waste? What does the Department of Energy mean by consent? Whose consent is the agency seeking? Is the waste being managed safely at power plant sites where it’s stored now?
These and many more questions should be raised at the meeting. The US Department of energy is holding a series of meetings at different locations across the country. The meeting in Atlanta is our opportunity to ask questions and give our opinions.
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
www.BREDL.org PO Box 88 Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 BREDL@skybest.com (336) 982-2691
If we leave the field open to the vision of those who are imposing their way upon us without challenge, we will lose everything.
It is important to include EJ specifically and consistently in all our principles, comments, correspondence, position papers and talking points during these consent-based meetings. Why? Because all the communities which have ever been selected for radioactive waste have been EJ communities: African American, Hispanic, Appalachian, Native American etc.
In the South, studies of the locations of nuclear generating plants also reveal disproportionate impacts prohibited under the Civil Rights Act. It is of particular interest to us in the Southeast because of the perennial magnet for nuclear waste known as the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. We have the right to say “NO!”
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs receiving federal assistance. This overview provides a foundation for our approach to DOE’s so-called consent-based process:
If a recipient of federal assistance is found to have discriminated and voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the federal agency providing the assistance should either initiate fund termination proceedings or refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate legal action. Aggrieved individuals may file administrative complaints with the federal agency that provides funds to a recipient, or the individuals may file suit for appropriate relief in federal court. Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination.
President John F. Kennedy said in 1963: “Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors, and national origins] contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial [color or national origin] discrimination.”
The DOE should choose the best available technology for radioactive waste storage. This should be based on long term safety, not short-term cost savings as is now the case. The DOE must exceed Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards to avoid radiation leaks and potential explosions. Most of the rest of the world uses thick metal storage/transport casks (10” to 20” thick) and stores them in reinforced buildings. They are designed to be maintained. The DOE plans to use inferior thin-walled canisters.
Rather than consent-based siting, DOE efforts and public meetings should be focused on the storage, transport, funding, and states legal authority issues. It would be folly for any community to consent to the transportation and storage of high level spent nuclear fuel until all these issues are resolved.
CITIZENS FOR A HEALTHY AND SAFE ENVIRONMENT
www.chase– dekalb.webs.org P.O. Box 384, Lithonia, GA 30058
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2014
Renee Cail, 617-320-3910
Min. Stevie Banks 770-865-3660
Sandra Honore 770-559-9669
Rev. Charles Utley 706-772-5558
Darren Harper 917-204-4427
Local Group Joins Forces with Defense League to Oppose Biomass Incineration
Lithonia– Today, Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) announced they have joined the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), a regional environmental justice non-profit organization. The link with the multi-state organization will give CHASE greater capacity to defend the residents of Dekalb County from toxic air pollution.
Renee Cail, CHASE President, said, “We will continue to fight for environmental justice to stop energy corporations from bringing industrial projects to our communities that threaten the public health of people in Lithonia.” CHASE was founded by local residents opposed to a biomass power plant.
CHASE member Sandra Honore said, “We will increase our community power by holding community educational meetings, rallies and protests to prevent the Public Service Commission from granting a license to Green Energy Partners. That’s why CHASE is joining with Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.”
Rev. Charles Utley, EJ Campaign Director for Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, said, “CHASE has done well, focusing its efforts on preventing the development of a biomass gasification burning electric plant located on Rogers Lake Road in Lithonia. The plant has not been built, and it’s not too late. We must remain steadfast in our goal.” Min. Stevie Banks, Vice President, agreed and said, “Several local churches and health organizations, members of the legal community and other grassroots organizations oppose development of the plant.”
Dr. Darren Harper, a medical doctor and member of CHASE, spoke about the negative health impacts of biomass incinerators. He said, “We are concerned about the residents of Lithonia who are suffering with respiratory illnesses, fighting stenches from the landfills and facing toxic emissions from trucking and gravel companies.” According to a study by BREDL, the nitrogen oxide emissions from Green Energy Partner’s proposed biomass gasification plant would be like adding 16,491 cars on the roads in South Dekalb County. Harper continued, “We do not need another smokestack in Dekalb County.”
The CHASE group was formed by long time civil rights activists and Lithonia residents in July 2010 when they were notified about the proposed plant. The group’s first meetings were hosted by member Johnny Dougherty, now deceased. BREDL has provided the group with technical assistance throughout their campaign, and in 2014 CHASE became an official chapter of the organization.
BREDL has helped organize chapters in diverse communities across Georgia since 2002, and continues working across the state to protect water, air and environmental quality. In Lowndes County in 2011, a company seeking to build a biomass incinerator similar to the proposed plant in Lithonia, backed out of its plans after months of protesting by BREDL’s chapter in Valdosta, the Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy. The group also secured a “no biomass clause” for any future lease or sale agreements of the land, a strategy that activists in Lithonia can learn from.
On March 15, 2014 BREDL celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. The League has won successful environmental justice campaigns in six states and has incorporated more than one hundred chapters across the region, including preventing and shutting down nuclear waste sites, hazardous waste dump facilities, and asphalt and other polluting industrial plants in rural and low-income areas and communities of color across the Southeast.