BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE www.bredl.org
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
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BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email: BREDL@skybest.com


PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 28, 2005
CONTACT:
Louis Zeller (704) 756-7550 cell
(336) 982-2691 office
Bobbie Paul (404) 524-5999
Charles Utley (706) 772-5558
Glenn Carroll (404) 378-4263

Citizens Groups Advise SRS Citizens Advisory Board

Sunshine Campaign Will Allow Public To Have Say

Today at a press conference in North Augusta, grassroots citizens groups announced a “Sunshine Campaign” to open up the process of communication between the Department of Energy, the SRS Citizens Advisory Board and the general public. The pressing issue was the risk to public health from liquid high-level radioactive waste stored in steel tanks at the old Savannah River bomb plant and the Department of Energy's proposal to accelerate work by leaving some wastes in the ground. Citizens group representatives made a series of recommendations opposing this plan.

Louis Zeller, campaign coordinator for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, announcing the Sunshine Campaign said, “For too long DOE has told communities affected by high-level radioactive waste what the issues are; this is backwards. The DOE should be going to local residents and asking what issues are important to them.” He said the Sunshine Campaign would continue to bring grassroots recommendations to the Citizens Advisory Board.

Bobbie Paul of Atlanta WAND talked about the fact that two high-level radioactive waste tanks have been closed without public involvement. She said, "We want nothing short of an open, transparent, public review process on all high-level nuclear waste issues at SRS."

Charles Utley, BREDL’s community organizer for the Central Savannah River Area, said,
“The people in the affected community must be heard. Not one more waste tank should be closed without first holding public hearings in North Augusta, Augusta, and Savannah.”

Louis Zeller presented line item details from Congressional budgets which showed that requests for the tank cleanup program before and after an amendment allowing high-level radioactive waste to remain in South Carolina decreased only $6 million over a thirty year period. Zeller said, “The promised saving of $16 billion is not there. The people of South Carolina have the right to ask: What will we get in return for millions of gallons of dangerous radioactive waste?”

Glenn Carroll, of Georgians Against Nuclear Energy, is concerned about the lack of coordination by DOE on the plutonium fuel program. “They want to build a multi-billion dollar MOX factory to safeguard 34 tons of plutonium and they haven’t even figured out how they will coordinate security,” said Ms. Carroll. “They need to get their act together.”

In a written statement, Joe Whetstone of Bluffton, SC addressed contamination of the Savannah River and the impacts on workers at the Savannah River Site and future generations living downstream. He said that citizen’s rights to safe drinking continue to be threatened by the Department of Energy’s plans for disposing high-level radioactive waste.

Today’s Sunshine Campaign initiative is the product of local and regional groups who are banding together to open up the process of communication between the SRS-CAB and the general public. Participants include Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Carolina Peace Resource Project, Citizens for Environmental Justice, Georgians Against Nuclear Energy, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the SC Sierra Club, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Women’s Action for New Directions. They plan to take their recommendations to Tuesday’s meeting of the SRS Citizens Advisory Board.

-end-

MORE INFO:
BREDL Statement to the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board
Savannah River Site