New Mexico´s history and economy are intertwined with nuclear energy. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Southern New Mexicans are getting national attention directed toward the aftereffects of the Trinity Site detonation only 70 years later. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has been housing transuranic waste since the late 1990s. We have learned over the years that LANL has been careless with the nuclear materials in its care, repeatedly violating safety protocols. A ruptured drum from LANL stored at WIPP caused a leak in 2014 that shut down the underground storage facility for nearly three years.
The Green Party of Taos County has revised a resolution from Santa Fe regarding clean-up activities at LANL. The final language should be available soon, but here is a recent draft–the list of known violations is eye-opening. GPAMA crafted a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding the proposed Holtec Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in Lea County. This proposed facility would store spent-fuel waste from commercial and military reactors from across the country. The deadline for public comment on the scope of the required Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is Monday, July 30, 2018. Please read and use the GPAMA letter to send your own comments to Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov.
During the Guerra Civil de Guatemala in the 1990s, many groups of extranjeros worked (and continue today) in the country in various capacities to aid indigenous groups. A particular organized action, Salir a la Luz, involved mostly young European visitors and temporary residents accompanying indigenous guatemaltec@s to and from public spaces, both as a show of solidarity and a deterrent to harassment or murder by the military. After decades of displacement, abuse, torture, and murder, Mayan-descended guatemalans endured more than a decade of no accountability and no justice.
Today, shining a light on atrocities is aided by rapid communications with global reach. That has happened to some extent with the zero-tolerance policy of the Trump administration, started on May 5 and ended on June 20. There are calls for the abolition of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Businesses have declared that they will not or no longer participate in the transportation of children to detention facilities. Others may continue to profit.
It is time for a thorough review of the creation, performance, and need for ICE. The heat of sunlight melts ice. Salir a la luz.
More information can be found at these links:
In a major labor strike for an eight-hour work day, hundreds of thousands of workers across the United States began the first May Day labour celebration on May 1, 1886. The strike in Chicago remained peaceful for two days before violence between police and strikers caused death and injuries. Police brutality has been around a long time. This episode, known as the Haymarket Affair or the Haymarket Tragedy or the Haymarket Riot or the Haymarket Massacre, was commemorated three years later with the declaration of May 1 as an international labour holiday by the International Socialist Conference. It continues to be celebrated widely as International Workers’ Day.
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! is an internationally recognized call for distress and meant to convey grave and imminent danger to a vessel at sea or in the air. Real (constant 1982-1984) average hourly earnings in the United States range from $9.21 to $10.75. Current national average hourly earnings range from $22.42 to $26.82. Looking at the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area, service sector annual salaries range from $19,762 in Food Services to $20,838 in Personal Care to $22,386 in Cleaning and Maintenance. A living wage for a family of four with one adult working is $25.41 per hour or $52,854 and $44,720 per year before and after taxes, respectively. If both adults work full-time, the living wage for a family with two children is $16.13 an hour or $67,112/$56,707 annually before/after taxes. Working families headed by those without college degrees or technical training are clearly under water. Educational workers ($45,008 average annual salary), office workers ($33,077), and construction workers ($37,392), as single parents with only one child ($51,514/$43,589 b/a taxes) are losing altitude.
Find a May Day march, rally, protest, or celebration and share your voice and presence in support of a living wage. Make noise for distressed workers at your city hall, state legislature, and congressional representatives’ offices. The Green Party supports a living wage for all workers and an increase in the federal minimum wage.
When I was in ninth grade, we learned in social studies that the Athabaskan tar sands in Alberta, Canada were a source of future resource wealth. Flash forward to 2018 and the tar sands oil has morphed into the Keystone XL pipeline issue. New technologies for extracting oil—shale oil extraction and fracking—are even more harmful to the environment than traditional oil wells, whether in the ocean or on the lands of Texas or New Mexico.
We are living through a time when the effects of climate change increasingly affect our daily lives. Climate change does not just mean global warming. It means all kinds of extremes, extreme drought, extreme hurricanes, extreme flooding, extreme sustained cold temperatures. It means unusual winters of very cold or too much “above average.” It means more Harveys, Irmas, Marías are in store.
At the same time we are living through a time when an administration in Washington, DC wants us to close our eyes and pretend that we don’t understand what is happening. That climate change is not real and its very mention can be vanished from government websites. They hope we don’t connect the dots (which is the true purpose of propaganda). Taking the usual route of following the money, however, we see that only corporate interests are served by this blindness.
We are also living through a time where many people would like to hand off a better world to their children and grandchildren. Others don’t want posterity to judge us for our neglect and blindness to what surrounds us. That’s the motivation behind state and local governments who choose environmentally friendly policies, and the motivation of citizens who get actively involved with protecting the environment. That’s why I am an environmental activist. –FBC
Glyphosate is sold commercially in the U. S. A. as Roundup®. It has been touted as a unique herbicide and safe to humans. There has been controversy about possible carcinogenicity–whether or not it increases the risk of malignancies. Proponents and defenders of the widespread use of glyphosate claim that correct use of the herbicide does not raise the risk of malignancy and that animals exposed to glyphosate in studies were given very high doses.
Lawsuits have sprung up like weeds since the IARC classified it as a probable carcinogen in 2015 and when it became known earlier this year that Monsanto arranged for other scientists to bombard published studies with criticisms and dismiss unfavorable findings. An investigation was opened into possible collusion between an EPA regulator and Monsanto. There is also evidence that Monsanto wrote some of their own safety reviews and had the names of outside scientists put on the papers. Legal documents that were unsealed can be found at Right to Know along with links to press coverage.
GPAMA created a petition calling for the elimination of the use and sale of glyphosate in our four-county region. You can help us by downloading the petition and collecting signatures. Please mail signed petitions to us (address on petition) or contact us at 505.750.2708 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pick-up of the signatures.
Other options exist for weed control, beginning with integrated pest management (IPM). This process often refers to insects as well as weeds. Cinnamon oil, clove leaf oil, essential oil of lemongrass, citric acid, and concentrated vinegar have all been used in commercial products approved for organic crop production and are effective when chemical agents are used as a last resort.
Why is zoning important? Perhaps you noticed announcements for three important zoning meetings this month for three different bodies in the ABQ metro. Zoning ordinances are the regulations imposed by cities and counties describing how land may be used and setting requirements for allowable developments and land uses. Ideally, interests are balanced, and the general welfare of the public is promoted and preserved.
The Bernalillo County Commission approved the Santolina master-planned development west of Albu(r)querque. This was highly controversial and remains so. The next meeting about Santolina focuses on an agreement with the water authority (ABCWUA). Development can not go forward without an agreement. An important point is that the existence of paper water rights does not mean there is water available for tens of thousands of people the developers say will move to the development even though area population appears to be decreasing. In addition, the Commission previously approved tax increment financing for the developers–that is future taxpayer money goes to the developers to help pay the costs of development. Santolina Master Plan
The City of Albuquerque is overhauling the zoning code. This effort has met significant resistance from city residents who are not developers and commercial realtors. The notions of transit-oriented development and increased density sound good in theory with regard to reducing emissions and sprawl, respectively. However, many of the claims made to justify the major changes are not valid. Albuquerque is not seeing an increase in population, and the majority of millenials and boomers do not want to live in high-rise apartments in an urban center. Further, Sector Development Plans (SDPs), documents created to guide development of particular areas of the city, will be eliminated. SDPs have been created with significant neighorhood participation and have served unique areas of the city well. IDO
Finally, Sandoval County is considering a draft Oil & Gas Ordinance to address concerns about negative effects of extraction, particularly fracking. Unfortunately, the draft ordinance appears to be lacking in requirements for environmental impact studies and consideration for historical sites and wildlife areas. The latest news in this saga is that Sandoval County may consider using Special Use Permits on a case-by-case basis rather than moving forward with work on an Oil & Gas Ordinance. Sandoval County P&Z
The request by SandRidge Exploration and Production, L. L. C. to the Sandoval County Zoning Commission for a Zone Map amendment to allow drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Sandoval County was met with prompt and significant public opposition. The people of Sandoval County have good reason to be concerned about the possibility of fracking, as do the people of Bernalillo County. While proponents may claim lower electricity prices or facilitated compliance with EPA pollution standards or job creation, they may minimize or ignore harmful effects. These include aquifer contamination, air contamination, surface destruction, decreased property values, high-volume water consumption (millions of gallons per well), bedrock destabilization, and the resultant negative health consequences from items on this lengthy list.
The Green Party of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area (GPAMA) serves Sandoval, Bernalillo, Torrance, and Valencia Counties. GPAMA strongly recommends denial of the Zone Map amendment request ZNCH-15-003 and encourages residents of Sandoval County to voice their opposition to the request.