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My name is Jason Pretty Boy and I am the new staff member here at Snake River Alliance.  I started on the first of April and am looking forward to working with all of you and the wonderful staff at Snake River Alliance.  I am a Lakota (Sioux) tribal member from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North/South Dakota.  I am also a life long Idahoan (with pauses for school and work) having grown up in the Declo area on a small farm/ranch operation.

I will be sending out emails from time to time with volunteer opportunities and upcoming events.  If you find something that strikes your fancy you can follow back with me, my email is jprettyboy@snakeriveralliance.org.

-Jason

The fox is truly guarding the apple blossoms in Washington, DC, this year. So the Snake River Alliance will field a team of five volunteer activists to fight back.

This May, five Alliance members – old and young – will donate their time and out-of-pocket expenses to represent YOU by going to Washington, DC, to participate in a week of citizen lobbying. We need your financial help to fight in the halls of Congress for a nuclear-free future.

A lot has changed in Washington lately, but not the power of old-fashioned lobbying. Public money has always propped-up the nuclear industry, and now that industry is lobbying for even more of your tax dollars to take care of its dangerous waste and underwrite nuclear technologies that have been tried and failed before.

We will reach out to recently appointed members of the Trump Administration – not just with online petitions – but with personal contacts and shoe leather.

We can’t do it without you! Please help us get our volunteers to Washington. Your $1000 gift would cover airfare for one of our five participants. A gift of $600 will cover lodging and food for a volunteer.

Your $100 gift will pay for 10 briefing packets for Members of Congress on pending legislation that would harm taxpayers and the environment. Any amount will help our lobbying team hit the ground running. Please consider donating $50 or $100 to help this grassroots campaign succeed.

This won’t be easy, but our volunteers are brave. We plan to have up to 100 meetings with elected officials and agency heads. We will talk directly with Members of Congress, the DOE, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This is a crucial project and we need your help. The Snake River Alliance’s most important job is to protect our land, water, and people. Direct people-to-people contact is the best way to win hearts and minds.

The Alliance will work with other grassroots groups to support clean energy and a world free of nuclear weapons. We’ll remind people in DC that people in Idaho are at risk from the nuclear waste that is already here.

Getting our volunteers to Washington, DC, is how we build relationships with those in power and become even more effective, year-round advocates for Idaho.

Please become part of our grassroots lobbying effort by making a gift to help cover the direct costs of getting our Idaho ambassadors to DC. This could make all the difference.

Some Trump appointees ignore the lessons of Fukushima and want taxpayers to pay for more of the same old, dangerous technology. But we haven’t forgotten the failed promises of the nuclear industry and will fight to protect Idaho.

Linda Leeuwrik – Pocatello

I’m eager to attend DC Days to be part of the effort to stop additional nuclear waste from coming into Idaho and to do all I can to ensure our beautiful state doesn’t become the country’s nuclear dumpsite.

Amy Hilton – Boise

I want to go to DC with the Snake River Alliance because I want to be a catalyst for the changes I want to see in U.S. nuclear energy public policies. This is the perfect opportunity to make my voice heard.

Brent Marchbanks – Boise

One thing about today’s political climate: the powers that be are unsure of their standing with constituents. It’s a great time for them to hear from us on energy and nuclear waste issues.

 

Wendy Wilson – Boise

Washington, DC, still belongs to all Americans. It is crucial for citizens to be there to keep dirty-energy lobbyists from running amok.

 

 

Beatrice Brailsford – Pocatello

We’re halfway through a $22 billion cleanup of nuclear weapons contamination in Idaho. At the very same time, we’re threatened with crippling funding cuts to environmental regulation and hearing talk about a new nuclear arms race. I want to help stop our country from making the same mistakes again.

Cleanup workers at the Idaho National Laboratory have successfully removed the last wooden box of radioactive waste from the above-ground Transuranic Storage Area. Technicians signed their names to the final retrieval container on the night of February 21, 2017. This is an important step in INL’s overall cleanup plan for transuranic (TRU) waste, both above-ground and buried.

The next step will be to treat the retrieved waste at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant. The waste will still eventually have to be shipped out of Idaho for permanent disposal, but in the meantime, it will be stored much more safely than it has been.

Until 1970, transuranic waste, which is contaminated with plutonium, was buried in unlined pits and trenches at INL. But plutonium remains hazardous for 240,000 years, and the government realized that, until a deep geologic repository was available, it was safer to store it above ground. At INL, the waste was stacked on concrete pads next to the burial grounds and then covered with dirt, so it was essentially above-ground buried waste. Over the years, the Transuranic Storage Area grew to cover 7 acres and was eventually enclosed in a giant metal building.

Efforts to process all the above-ground TRU waste began in 2003. As workers moved to older waste stored in increasingly damaged barrels and boxes, the work became more dangerous. In 2010, one worker was exposed when a waste container released plutonium-238 as it was being opened. Work was suspended for more than a year to install movable enclosures to contain contamination as workers handled the old packages.

Despite the difficulties, the INL workforce removed approximately 65,000 cubic meters of plutonium-contaminated waste from unsafe storage in TSA. Well done.

Efforts to exhume waste from the burial grounds next door, which began in earnest in 2005, will continue.

Although the nuclear navy is still allowed to bring waste to Idaho under the 1995 Nuclear Waste Agreement, shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel are currently prohibited.

This winter, the Governor’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy panel and the State Legislature have discussed allowing more nuclear waste to come to Idaho. This would send the wrong message to the federal government.

Question: What is at stake?

Answer: The geology of the INL is a terrible place for nuclear waste because of the underlying Snake River Plain Aquifer – the sole source of drinking water for more than 300,000 people. In the 1980s radioactive materials were discovered in the aquifer.

The INL cleanup program is ongoing, but Idaho’s water is still at risk until that program is complete.

Question: Why has Idaho stopped the shipment of “research quantities” of spent nuclear fuel to INL? 

A:  Attorney General Lawrence Wasden stopped a shipment in 2015, and may do so again because the federal government has not met deadlines for stabilizing high-level waste or removing plutonium-contaminated waste that is already here. So far none of the deadlines in the 1995 Agreement have been met

In the 1970s the head of the Atomic Energy Commission promised Governor Cecil Andrus that nuclear waste would be removed from Idaho. However, when Mr. Andrus returned to that office in 1987, he found that no significant progress had been made. In the early 1990s, the governor took steps to force the federal government to remove nuclear waste that was threatening the Snake River Plain Aquifer and blocked waste from entering Idaho. The State of Idaho filed a number of lawsuits against the federal government, which were ultimately resolved in a 1995 court settlement agreement.

Q: Could Idaho become the nation’s “default” nuclear waste dump? 

A: Until the federal government builds a repository for high-level nuclear waste, Idaho is at risk of becoming a permanent “interim” facility. Every year, the nuclear industry generates thousands of metric tons of waste which will be the responsibility of the federal government. The Yucca Mountain site in Nevada is no longer active. Even if Yucca Mountain could be opened, it would not be big enough for all the spent nuclear fuel generated by the industry . The 1995 Agreement is Idaho’s strongest legal tool to protect itself. Idaho Legislators should be defending Idaho and working with Governor Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to assure federal accountability.