Keep Elected PRC

Vote NO on Constitutional Amendment 1, Appointed Public Regulation Commission Amendment

Besides the usual lineup of candidates on the November 3 ballot, there is “Constitutional Amendment 1.” This proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would phase out the Public Regulation Commission (PRC)’s elected officials and replace them with officials appointed by the governor.

Several glossy postcards arrived in voters’ mailboxes in August, touting the disadvantages of “professional politicians” and painting utility and energy company “experts” as the correct approach. The approach was smooth, non-specific, and boilerplate–almost as if the message were lifted from similar campaigns around the country seeking to take the “public” out of public regulation bodies. Current commissioners have been in tune with and responsive to public sentiment. It begs the question as to why we would want to replace these commissioners with unknowns representing industry interests and stockholder-owned utilities.

Let us not be fooled by a set of well-worded and slickly produced industry-sponsored messages that weave fancy tales that public utility decisions should be made by representatives of the utility companies. Is oversight by accountable citizens an old-fashioned notion? Let us remember that privatizing energy and utility regulation removes oversight and the public interest from the decision-making loop. Having industry regulate itself is just another case of the fox guarding the hen house.

Local Candidate

Stephen Verchinski is running for New Mexico House of Representatives, District 25.  This district is in the NE Heights of ABQ.  This should be an interesting race as there appear to be FOUR candidates on the ballot:  a Green, a Libertarian, a Republican, and the incumbent Democrat.  Campaign contributions may be made at Stephen4NM or sent to Stephen at the following address:

Stephen Verchinski for New Mexico
2700 Española Street NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110-3521

Stephen is a representative to the GPUS National Committee for GPNM and also serves on the Eco-Action and International Committees. Call 505.238.2398 or visit Stephen4NM to volunteer today!

More Holtec Webinars

NOTICE FROM NRC

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Conduct Four Public Online Webinars for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Holtec HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will conduct four additional public meetings via webinar soliciting comments on a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Holtec International’s (Holtec) proposed Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in Lea County, New Mexico.  The draft EIS evaluates potential environmental impacts of Holtec’s request to build and operate the proposed CISF. The NRC invites members of the public to attend the public meeting webinars and to present oral comments on the draft EIS.

Thursday, August 20, 2020 – 4:00 pm MT (6:00 pm ET)
Webinar
Event address: https://usnrc.webex.com/
Event number: 199 831 2299
Event password: HOLTEC
Telephone access
Phone number: 888-566-6509
Passcode: 1904459

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 – 12:00 noon MT (2:00 pm ET)
Webinar
Event address: https://usnrc.webex.com/
Event number: 199 973 2733
Event password: HOLTEC
Telephone access
Phone number: 888-566-6509
Passcode: 1904459

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 – 4:00 pm MT (6:00 pm ET) Webinar:
Event address: https://usnrc.webex.com/
Event number: 199 278 6216
Event password: HOLTEC
Telephone access:
Phone number: 888-566-6509
Passcode: 1904459

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 – 9:00 am MT (11:00 am ET)Webinar:
Event address: https://usnrc.webex.com/
Event number: 199 183 5099
Event password: HOLTEC
Telephone access:
Phone number: 888-566-6509
Passcode: 1904459

The public may also submit written comments on the draft EIS before September 22, 2020.  Members of the public can provide comments by any of the following methods:

    • E-mail to  Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov
    • Online at  https://www.regulations.gov/ (search for Docket ID NRC-2018-0052) 
    • US Mail to the following address: Office of Administration, Mail Stop:  TWFN-7-A60M, ATTN:  Program Management, Announcements and Editing Staff, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

The draft EIS can be found on the NRC public webpage for the Holtec CISF license application at https://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/holtec-international.html.  If you do not have internet access, contact the NRC Public Document Room at 800-397-4209 for assistance.  Questions regarding the draft EIS should be directed to Jill Caverly at 301-415-7674 or at Jill.Caverly@nrc.gov.

Deja Vu

Grappling with state violence is not easy for a society.  It is, however, necessary.  Targeting of individuals and groups based on skin color, ethnicity, country of origin, or politicial and religious beliefs is intolerable.  The Green Party has long advocated for social justice, de-militarization of the police, and co-operative foreign policy.  We are struck by the current relevance of issues from 50 years ago.

On May 8, 1970, a protest at UNM against the killing of four students at Kent State University and the war in Southeast Asia resulted in the New Mexico National Guard stabbing several people with their bayonets. To commemorate that date and to honor its historical memory, the Green Party of the Albuquerque Metro Area (GPAMA), Veterans for Peace Donald and Sally-Alice Thompson Chapter (VFP-ABQ), and the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School (MACCS) worked together to produce a public event to examine the events of 50 years ago, to compare activism today to that of the 60s and 70s, and to consider ways to heal as individuals and communities and move beyond violence as a society. The COVID-19 pandemic forced postponement of the public gathering originally planned for May 2020; we hope to reschedule it in September or early October. Here is a short video as a teaser to the future event. We hope you find “May 8, 1970: A Day to Remember” edifying and intriguing, and we invite you to share the link widely. Many thanks to those who have shared their experiences and expertise.  May 8, 1970: A Day to Remember 

Electioneering During a Pandemic

If you are in the Albu(r)querque area and able to help collect signatures for State House Candidate Stephen Verchinski please contact us.  Or contact Stephen directly:  505.238.2398. WANT BIG EFFORT THIS WEEKEND JUNE 20!

While states must take actions–including social restrictions–to promote and preserve public health, the same thought must be given to promoting and preserving the health of a fragile representative democracy.  Minor party and independent candidates in New Mexico face the same difficulties as those in other states with respect to petitioning.  Minor party and independent candidates may canvass only during prescribed time periods.  Because of the public health order imposed by the governor, this signature-collecting period was effectively reduced to a couple of weeks in March.  In New Mexico, the power to change election law resides with the state legislature and the courts.  The non-major-party candidates must hope that potential future colleagues understand the importance of a truly representative democracy overrides the self-preservation tendencies of entrenched power.  Relief from the stringent petition-gathering requirements should be granted to all minor party and independent candidates during this extraordinary situation.

The Green Party of New Mexico requested relief from the governor–who has the powers to call a special legislative session and put items on the agenda.  The other possible remedy is seeking relief from the courts.  Lawsuits have been filed across the country.  Accounts can be found at Ballot Access News and GPUS.

Chaco at Risk

May 28th is the deadline to submit comments on the Resource Management Plan amendment and its corresponding Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) regarding management of the Mancos Shale/Gallup Formation.  Areas of focus are fluid leasable minerals, vegetation management, lands and realty, and lands with wilderness characteristics.  The amendment is expected to open the Greater Chaco Region, including parts of Sandoval County, to MORE FRACKING.

VIRTUAL MEETING MONDAY, MAY 18 9:00 a. m.  Participate and register your opposition to oil & gas exploration in the Greater Chaco Region and demand an extension to the public comment deadline until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in NW New Mexico.  The people most affected by the harms of oil & gas exploration are the most affected by the pandemic in New Mexico.

Register on line at https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/plans-in-development/new-mexico/farmington-rmp-mancos-gallup-amendment.  Once you have registered for one of the virtual meetings, you will receive an email containing instructions on how to join the meeting.

Register by phone at 505-635-9701. An operator will register you and provide you with details on how to join the conference by phone.

https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/plans-in-development/new-mexico/farmington-rmp-mancos-gallup-amendment

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite&projectId=68107&dctmId=0b0003e880d8a744

50 Years Ago Today

National Guardsmen attacked protesters at the University of New Mexico in Albu(r)querque, New Mexico. Eleven people were bayonetted. Despite a lawsuit, the no one was held accountable. Many protesters inside the Student Union Building (SUB) refused to leave after occupying the building; 131 were arrested by local law enforcement officers. The arrests were peaceful and orderly, contrasted with the mayhem created by the National Guard out on the plaza. The protests were part of the anti-war protests of the era, supercharged by the killing of four students at Kent State University on May 4. Jane Fonda was on campus that week as a student strike was in effect, and the University was shut down for a time.

GPAMA, Veterans for Peace-ABQ, and students at Media Arts Collaborative Charter School were working on a 50th Anniversary commemorative event that had to be postponed because of the public health order. We expect to reschedule the event for the Fall Semester. We will let you know the particulars when we have them. The event will be free, educational, and perhaps a bit healing for some.  We hope to have a trailer video soon to give you a preview of the public event.

HOLTEC Update

The effort to place a Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility in Lea County continues.   The public comment deadline for the draft Environmental Impact Statement has been extended to July 20, 2020.

A national webinar and five public meetings in New Mexico during the public comment period to present the staff’s preliminary findings and receive public comments are planned.  As the COVID-19 public health emergency evolves, the NRC staff will continue to re-evaluate these plans for engaging the public and will consider additional extensions to the comment period.

The draft EIS can be accessed at https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML2006/ML20069G420.pdf

A summary (Reader’s Guide) of the EIS report can be accessed at:   https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML2007/ML20073P254.pdf

  • Submit comments on line at https://www.regulations.gov/ (Docket ID NRC-2018-0052).
  • Mail comments to the Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWFN-7-A60M, ATTN: Program Management, Announcements and Editing Staff, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555-0001.
  • E-mail comments to Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov.