Archive for April, 2013

On Saturday, April 27, 2013 the Town of Leverett, Massachusetts voted in their annual spring Town Meeting to abolish the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and to demand that Entergy expand the emergency evacuation zone from 10 to 50 miles from the troubled Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.  The warrant article addressing the NRC stated in part, “The citizens of Leverett, Massachusetts feel an urgent need to protect our beloved land and culture from the clear and present danger of nuclear annihilation. Given the past callous disregard for public safety we hereby express our lack of faith in the existing Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect us from nuclear accident.”   A friendly amendment to the warrant article addressed the issue of VT Yankee’s 10-mile evacuation zone in the event of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack upon the plant. It read, “Given our immediate proximity to Vermont Yankee, a facsimile reactor to Fukushima, whose radiation plume spread much more than 50 miles to Tokyo [in the wake of the Fukushima, Japan multiple meltdown], we require for our citizen and school safety a more effective plan. Therefore we demand that the Entergy corporation expand from 10 to 50 miles the minimum radiation hazard zone.”

Both the warrant article and its amendment called for action. “We direct the Town Clerk to send this official act of our Town Meeting to the NRC, Entergy, Federal judges, our governor,  our representatives in Congress and the media….We urge our Congressional representatives to represent our interests by introducing a bill into Congress to eliminate the NRC and assign its regulatory role to a different agency”. With limited debate the warrant article passed overwhelmingly.

The Town Meeting article and its attending amendment was put forward by members of The Daniel Shays Non-violent Bioregional Liberation Front, a local affinity group working with others like the SAGE Alliance and the Safe & Green Campaign to shut down Entergy’s  dangerous VT Yankee nuclear power plant just over the Massachusetts border in Vermont. The Town of Leverett, MA is downwind and downstream from the nuke and falls just outside the dubious 10-mile evacuation zone.

[This reported by d.o.  Full text of Warrant Article & Amendment below]

 

Warrant Article for Leverett, MA. Town Meeting, April, 2013

 

To Abolish the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and to Create a new Regulatory Agency

 

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, owned by the Entergy Corporation of Louisiana, is located about 20 miles as the crow flies from Leverett.  It is a Mark I reactor built by General Electric, and is one of  its first generation of reactors. It has been  recognized from its beginnings in the early 1970s as poorly designed for safety.  Vermont’s reactor is exactly the same as the ones that melted down at Fukushima, Japan.  It has been plagued by so called “minor” accidents for years.  The company has repeatedly lied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the public, and to officials from the State of Vermont on matters concerning its design, operation, and condition.  The plant is vulnerable in several ways:

 

  • Its diesel pumps, which are located right on the edge of the Connecticut River, are vulnerable to flooding, the cause of the meltdown in Japan.

 

  • The cooling pool for spent uranium fuel rods is located seven stories above ground, and is vulnerable to a seismic event or terrorist act. The potential for radioactive poisoning from this source dwarfs the Hiroshima bomb, could endanger Boston’s water supply, and would create a vast sacrifice zone around the plant, including Leverett. In the worst case scenario, we would all have to permanently evacuate our homes. The company could reduce the risk by moving the older spent fuel rods to dry cask storage, but fails to do so because of the expense involved.

 

  • The containment vessel as designed is vulnerable to high pressures, and this plant is now 41 years old, beyond the age for which it was designed.

 

With strong support from surrounding states and local jurisdictions, including Leverett acting through its Select Board,  the legislature and the governor of the State of Vermont have sought to close the plant. Vermont demanded the right to rule on re-licensure of the plant at the end of its 40 year operating license, and the company agreed to that demand when the State approved the purchase of the plant by Entergy. Federal courts, favoring corporations over the states and the people,  have ruled that the contract Entergy signed with the State of Vermont need not be honored, and that the sole authority to regulate the safety of nuclear power plants lies with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  In 2011 The NRC renewed Vermont Yankee’s operating license for another 20 years starting in March 2012.  The NRC has never turned down a nuclear  industry request to re-license a ,plant.  Thus, people all over the US, including the people of this region have been denied our democratic right to protect our safety.

 

The citizens of Leverett, Massachusetts feel an urgent need to protect our beloved land and culture from the clear and present danger of nuclear annihilation. Given its past callous disregard for public safety we hereby express our lack of faith in the existing Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect us from nuclear accident.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission receives much of its funding from the industry itself and has consistently served as its protector and promoter.  We appeal to the President  and to the Congress to abolish the NRC, and to assign the regulatory role to a new or different agency, such as the Environmental Protection Agency.  We appeal to the Federal Court to honor the contract signed by Entergy with the State of Vermont, and to enforce Vermont’s order that Vermont Yankee cease to operate.

 

   We direct the Town Clerk to send this official act of our Town Meeting to the Federal judges, our representatives in Congress—McGovern, Warren and our interim senator—and  urge them to represent our interests by introducing a bill into Congress to eliminate the NRC and assign its regulatory role to a different agency.

******** Amendment to replace last paragraph of original warrant article**********

Given our immediate proximity to Vermont Yankee, a facsimile reactor to Fukushima, whose radiation plume spread much more than 50 miles to Tokyo, we require for our citizen and school safety a more effective evacuation plan.

 

Therefore we demand that the Entergy corporation  expand from 10 to 50 miles the minimum radiation hazard evacuation zone. After the Fukushima disaster the Nuclear Regulatory Commission advised US Nationals in Japan to evacuate if they were within a radius of 50 miles

 

Further, we demand that Governor Patrick and our Congressional delegation press Entergy and relevant governmental regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Consumer Protection Board, to create such a 50 mile evacuation zone and also demand that Entergy  make funds available to construct and practice evacuation plans in conjunction with local first responders, school officials, related governmental and department heads. We urge our Congressional representatives to represent our interests by introducing a bill into Congress to eliminate the NRC and assign its regulatory role to a different agency.
We direct the Town Clerk to send this official act of our town meeting to the NRC, Entergy, Federal judges, our governor, and our representatives in Congress—McGovern, Warren and our interim senator.

 

saveforestapeGreetings Earthlings. It’s time for our yearly reminder that every day is Earth Day…..but you already know that, right?  Bart Bouricius of the Native Tree Society joins us to talk old trees and carbon sequestration. As usual we’ll visit the New Boss and the Fool-on-the-Hill to see what they have to offer the planet lately. We’ll take you by the hand and walk you into The Enviro Show Echo Chamber and maybe do some E-Valley-uation too, but first it’s time for…..Revenge of the Critters! Fair warning here: leave the beavers ALONE!

Usually we get into the Wayback Machine for our Enviro Show Quote of the Week, but this time we’re inviting you aboard for another visit to the BIGGEST Fool-on-the-Hill. Yes, once again we’ve nominated Sen. James Inhofe (Repugnican – Hell) as our fool just so you can see some of his climate denial blather countered on this nifty site here. Did we forget to mention that this bottom feeder is the ranking minority member and former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment (Yes, the environment!) and Public Works?  More here!

On to Meet the New Boss. You may recall our moaning & groaning awhile back about the Boss’s appointment of MIT fracademic, Ernest Moniz to head the Dept. of Energy. Now as Moniz heads into his confirmation hearings  it’s been revealed that he’s not only up to his funny hair in fracking, but is also a  long-time corporate consultant for BP and is also on the Board of Directors of ICF International, one of the three corporate consulting firms tasked to perform the Supplemental Environmental Impact Study for….are you ready?  TransCanada’s Keystone XL  tar sands pipeline!  Nice work, Boss. Grab your hot air sickness bag ‘cuz there’s more here.  Had enough? No? How about the New Boss being up for radiation standards that “would permit annual radiation doses that could cause as many as one in about 20 people to develop cancer over a 30-year period.”?

In the Enviro Echo Chamber we want to rewind a segment from Living on Earth concerning “new research from Sweden (that) suggests that tiny fungi in the soil may deserve a little more credit for slowing global warming.”  Steve Curwood talks mushrooms with ecologist Karina Clemmensen, but our own in-house soil scientist, Glen Ayers has been on this issue like a dog on a bone for years now. We’ll run the tape….o sorry, it’s not tape anymore it’s electrons or whatever. We’ll also carry this info with us whenever saw-happy loggers and developers start going on about the need to take out mature trees, like say the majestic oaks in Amherst center?  What, the same Amherst that’s a member of Tree City USA?  Also this: Bill McKibben lets go on the Fossil Fools here.

Time for a little E-Valley-uation. We’ve been thinking quite a bit lately how inadequate the 10-mile evacuation zone is for the scary old VT. Yankee nuke. Think Fukushima on that one. In Leverett, MA potential nuclear disaster is going to be addressed at Town Meeting, but folks are freaking out about it elsewhere as well. And this: “Two women of the Shut It Down Affinity Group face charges of trespass and vandalism after police arrested them in the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant driveway covered with spray-painted, stenciled images of rats and the statement “I smell a rat.” “It is important to link the recent dangerous loss of electric power to the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant with the possibility of a similar event at Vermont Yankee,” Hattie Nestel said. “For several days, damaged radioactive fuel rods heated up in a spent fuel pool at Fukushima because a rat had crawled into electrical circuits and died. The same thing could happen at Vermont Yankee. The Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor is the same reactor as at Fukushima,” Nestel said. “It wouldn’t take an earthquake or a tsunami to wreak havoc with offsite power. A rat could do it.” Also: Greenfield Town Council passes biomass moratorium! The moratorium only lasts until Sept. 15, 2014. Maybe by then everyone will know what a biomess biomass is? [Your affirmation here].

After our interview with Bart we move on to the Bus Stop Billboard:

Wednesday, April 24, 7 to 9 “Beneath the River” Film Screening. Sunderland Public Library, Sunderland, MA. Join The Connecticut River Watershed Council and the Sunderland Public Library to explore the depths of the Connecticut River. Beneath the River takes you on a journey through time to explore the origins of the Connecticut River and the Connecticut River Valley. Email: info@ctriver.org

Wednesday – Friday, April 25 – 26, Noon. Smith College Earth Week events on the Chapin Lawn. Go to: http://www.smith.edu/green/sustainability_greenteam.php Email: sbigalke@smith.edu

Thursday, April 25, 4 to 5pm. Julian Agyeman, Professor and Chair of Urban and Policy and Planning, Tufts University with the topic: “Just Sustainabilities: Re-imagining e/quality, living within limits.” Julian Agyeman is the originator of the concept of  “just sustainabilities” the integration of social/spatial justice and sustainability, defined as the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems. Hills North. Room: 105 UMass Amherst Campus. Call: 413-545-2255

Thursday, April 25, 6:30 to 7:45 Regular monthly meeting of the Pioneer Valley Green-Rainbow Party! Green Fields Market Meeting Room. 144 Main Street, Greenfield, MA.

Thursday, April 25,    Funny Songs About Peace & Justice, 71 Solar Way, Greenfield, 7:00 PM, $15 or pay what you can;  RSVP – Space is limited – Reserve seat with check to Roy Zimmerman c/o Neilson 37 Solar Way, Greenfield 01301 tomneilsonmusic@yahoo.com, 413-219-6975

Friday April 26 —noon to 3 PM. Chernobyl Day vigil. Wells fountain main st. Brattleboro. More info—-Hattie 978 790 3074

Saturday, April 27, 10am to 4pm. Amherst Sustainability festival. Amherst Town Common. Learn & take part. Food & entertainment. Go to: http://www.amherstma.gov/sustaining

Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Climate Revival will be held in downtown Boston. An ecumenical festival of preaching, prayer and music to inspire Christians across New England with Resurrection hope and resolve as we face the climate crisis. [of course, we need a lot more than prayer! -ed]  We are delighted to let you know that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and UCC General Minister and President Geoffrey Black have agreed to preach at the Revival.  Worship will begin at 10 a.m. at Old South Church, and will end at Trinity Church at 3:00 p.m., followed by a climate justice rally held outside in Copley Square that ends at 4:00 p.m.   All are welcome, but pre-registration is appreciated.  Visit: http://bostonclimaterevival2013.eventbrite.com For more information, email: bostonclimaterevival2013@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 30, 5:30-6:30pm, Q&A 7:00-8:00pm. NRC Annual Assessment of VT Yankee nuke. Multipurpose Room, Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro, VT. The NRC staff will host an open house to discuss Entergy’s performance at Vermont Yankee during calendar year 2012 Following the open house, the NRC will host a Q&A session during which members of the public will be able to ask questions regarding our role in ensuring safe plant operation. Contact: Ronald R. Bellamy, Ph.D., Chief, Projects Branch 5 610-337-5200  E-mail: RonaldBellamy@nrc.gov

Saturday, May 4, 9:00am-4:00pm, Cycling Savvy Pioneer Valley is excited to offer its first class ever, at 3350 Main St. Springfield! CyclingSavvy (http://cyclingsavvy.org) is a wildly successful, paradigm-shifting, nation-wide cycling training program. Learn essential skills for successful bicycle travel. Bicycle travel can be safe, easy, and carefree. Take control of your experience on the street. Go anywhere, at any time, under any conditions. Feel relaxed, confident, and powerful. Contact Eli Damon at 413-530-3861

May 6, 2013, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.  MA Bureau of “Forestry” Pre-harvest Tour. Federated Women’s Club State Forest, Petersham. DCR Forester Mike Gieryk will lead a tour of the 43-acre planned timber sale in an oak pine forest type.  Meet at the intersection of State Forest Road and West Road in Petersham.  Access this location by driving south on State Forest Road 1.8 miles from Highway 122 in Petersham.  State Forest signs are posted on Highway 122. For additional information about the tours and Dept. of Cut & Run forest management on state forests, parks, and reservations, please contact William Hill, Management Forestry Program Supervisor, at 413-545-3891.

DCR Forester Mike Gieryk will lead a tour of the 43-acre planned timber sale in an oak pine forest type.  Meet at the intersection of State Forest Road and West Road in Petersham.  Access this location by driving south on State Forest Road 1.8 miles from Highway 122 in Petersham.  State Forest signs are posted on Highway 122.

Saturday, May 11, 9:00AM-4:00PM. Co-op Power’s 9th Annual Sustainability Summit will be held at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. The Annual Meeting will directly follow the Summit from 4-6:30 and all are welcome to attend. Contact elizabeth@cooppower.coop

Friday & Monday of Memorial Day Weekend (May 24 & May 27). Shut Down VT Yankee BANNER DROP.  Contact Leslie contraleslie@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 9th Save Our Bay Flotilla  Cape Cod Bay. We are trying to get a better idea of who is participating and how many people/boats will be there. You can send responses to me directly at karen@capecodbaywatch.org

That’s all folks. Remember to……..LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!!

No Escape From the Cape!

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

noescape