2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: marylia@earthlink.net
Date: 24 Jan 2003 15:00:32 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Livermore Bio-Warfare Facility Gets Green Light
Livermore Bio-Warfare Facility Gets Green Light

By Marylia Kelley
_From Tri-Valley CAREs' January 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Thumbing its nose at the nation's environmental laws, the Dept. of
Energy (DOE) on Dec. 16 granted itself the go-ahead to construct and
operate a bio-warfare agent facility at the Lawrence Livermore National

The agency signed a "finding of no significant impact," opening the
flood gate to the importation of live anthrax, plague and other deadly
bio-agents to the Bay Area nuclear weapons lab - all without benefit of
an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the dangers and
alternatives. In making its determination, the DOE ignored nearly 100
letters calling on the agency to conduct an EIS and hold public
hearings. (See the Aug. & Dec. 2002 editions of Citizen's Watch.)

The DOE plans to buy a 1,500 square foot, prefabricated building and
place it on a cement slab in the middle of the Lab's one and one-half
square mile site. After sealing and testing it for air tightness, DOE
says it could have it up and running by this summer.

The bio-warfare facility would be a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3), so it
will require double sets of doors and a special ventilation system.
Workers will wear protective suits with masks and gloves. The bio-agents
(e.g., germs, viruses, bacteria, bio-toxins and genetic mods) will
arrive by various means, including courier truck and the U.S. postal

In addition to its obvious health, environment and security risks, the
proposed BSL-3 has been harshly criticized by a broad range of
scientists and policy analysts for its potentially devastating impact on
the global control of bio-weapons, and on the treaty banning them.

Barbara Rosenberg, chair of the Federation of American Scientists'
working group on biological weapons considers it risky to locate a BSL-3
facility inside a working center for the creation of weapons of mass
destruction. "It makes a handy excuse for why there can't be any kind of
verification that the biological defense work in the lab is in
compliance with the ban on biological weapons," she told the Stockton

Tri-Valley CAREs is working with independent scientists and allied
groups across the country to oppose the facility. Further, we are
investigating the possibility of bringing litigation to compel DOE to
conduct a thorough environmental and nonproliferation analysis before
operations can begin. Stay tuned!

Marylia Kelley
Executive Director
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
2582 Old First Street
Livermore, CA USA 94551

<http://www.trivalleycares.org> - is our web site address. Please visit
us there!

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

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