2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: marylia@earthlink.net
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 14:59:22 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Lawsuit Over Livermore Lab Waste
Dear peace and enviro groups --

Tri-Valley CAREs and Allies File Lawsuit Over Lab Hazardous Waste

by Sally Light, Marylia Kelley and Jackie Cabasso
from Tri-Valley CAREs' January 2000 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

On December 23, 1999, environmentalists filed suit in Alameda County
Superior Court in Oakland against the California state Department of Toxic
Substances Control (DTSC), the Regents of the University of California and
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The groups claim that a final permit issued by DTSC earlier this year for
the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to treat hazardous and
radioactive wastes, including the construction and operation of new
facilities, violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA
requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) when a project
may cause significant impacts to the environment and surrounding community.

In the Lab's case, the DTSC inexplicably decided to forego an EIR, and,
instead, to issue a Negative Declaration, which is basically an
unsubstantiated assertion by the state agency that the Lab will not harm
the environment.

Offering a Negative Declaration for something  as complex  as a hazardous
waste facility at a nuclear weapons laboratory is inappropriate and
illegal.  According to the lawsuit, the Livermore Lab certainly has the
potential to cause significant environmental harm.

DOE documents specify that, in 1997, Livermore Lab generated 2,769,600
pounds of hazardous waste and 243,200 pounds of mixed hazardous and
radioactive waste. The Lab also discharges hundreds of thousands of gallons
of wastewater each year into the Livermore municipal sewer system.

Livermore Lab operations and hazardous waste management activities have
resulted in releases of hazardous and radioactive materials into the air,
soil and groundwater - including releases of radioactive tritium,
plutonium, uranium, high explosives and other chemical pollutants like TCE,
PCE, Freon and carbon tetrachloride.

Both the Livermore Lab main site and site 300 are on the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's "Superfund" list of most polluted areas in the nation.

Over the years, numerous Lab workers have been contaminated with
radioactive and hazardous materials. Such exposures continue up to the
present. Last year, a chemist was injured when a temporary waste container
ruptured. This year, a hazardous waste management contractor was sprayed
with a slurry of Radney nickel when the cap on a waste container blew off.

As a regular reader of Citizen's Watch, you may recall other recent
incidents as well: in July of this year, the Lab suffered a uranium waste
fire, in which the material was "glowing and starting to expand," according
to DOE documents. That incident forced the temporary shut down of three
buildings. Also in July, the Lab failed a waste audit conducted by DOE, and
had to suspend all shipments to the Nevada Test Site. Thirty-three
corrective action orders were issued.

According to DTSC records, the agency knew of the Lab's pattern of abuse -
and yet still cut corners to grant the permit without conducting an
environmental review or putting mitigation measures into place.

The three groups bringing the suit -Tri-Valley CAREs, Western States Legal
Foundation, and the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Physicians for Social
Responsibility - had filed an administrative appeal earlier this year
asking DTSC to reverse its decision to issue the permit. DTSC  denied the
appeal. This led to the filing of the current lawsuit.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Michael Veiluva, of Alborg, Veiluva
and Cannata, Phyllis Olin of Western States Legal Foundation, and Alan Ramo
and Anne Eng with the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic, Golden Gate
University School of Law.

Stay tuned!

Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
2582 Old First Street
Livermore, CA USA 94550

<http://www.igc.org/tvc/> - is our web site, please visit us there!

(925) 443-7148 - is our phone
(925) 443-0177 - is our fax

Working for peace, justice and a healthy environment since 1983, Tri-Valley
CAREs has been a member of the nation-wide Alliance for Nuclear
Accountability in the U.S. since 1989, and is a co-founding member of the
international Abolition 2000 network for the elimination of nuclear

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