Public Opposes Nuclear Weapons at the Livermore Hearing

 In Nuclear Weapons

Peace Action West has been working with groups like Tri-Valley CAREs and Western States Legal Foundation to turn the public out to the hearings on Complex Transformation, a plan by the Bush administration and the Department of Energy to revamp our nuclear weapons complex and create a new generation of nuclear weapons.

The hearings were held in Tracy on Tuesday, March 18th and in Livermore on Wednesday, March 19th. During the evening Livermore session, I was fortunate enough to hear Hiroshima A-bomb survivor Mr. Kohji Hosokawa, who spoke powerfully about what it was like when the bomb was dropped. He reminded us that real people are the victims of nuclear weapons and spoke about his sister and 200 of her classmates who were killed because of the bomb. He concluded his remarks by saying,

As a citizen of this planet, I beseech you to think of Hiroshima as your own experience, and … to record and remember it.

You can watch his statement here and help to promote the message of nuclear disarmament by asking your friends and family to watch the clip.

The hearings were an opportunity to spotlight the issue of nuclear
weapons and push for new policies that work towards disarmament. About 100 people attended the morning session in Livermore and the majority of the 50 people who signed up to speak were opposed to Complex Transformation. About 15 Peace Action West staff members and several of our members attended the hearings. Thank you to everyone who attended, and all those who have already sent in their comments. You can see photos from the hearings here. At the hearings, I delivered a box of more than 900 postcards from the community opposing Complex Transformation to DOE official Ted Wyka. The large turnout also helped attract the media’s attention. I participated in a press conference on behalf of Peace Action West with Tri-Valley CAREs, Western States Legal Foundation, and Veterans for Peace. Newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times had articles afterwards covering the debate on the future of nuclear weapons.

Throughout the day, we recorded footage of comments made by citizens and representatives of local organizations, like peace and environmental groups and Democratic clubs. Portions of the comments are posted online at our YouTube page. I encourage everyone to take a look at what the public has to say about nuclear weapons. After the DOE’s power point presentation on why they think nuclear weapons are necessary for the long-term, it was refreshing to hear so many people in the community speak from the heart in favor of a foreign policy that puts nuclear disarmament first. Many people spoke about the importance of abiding by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the local impact of living near the Livermore Lab, the importance of not funding and building new nuclear weapons like the Reliable Replacement Warhead, and the moral imperatives to stop creating weapons of mass destruction. Some of the speakers came from as far away as Santa Cruz.

The last of the hearings are taking place in other cities, but the opportunity to oppose nuclear weapons continues. The Department of Energy has already received roughly 40,000 comments, many more than they did in the last round of hearings. The public comment period continues until April 10th and you can still submit your comments online here. Go on record in support of disarmament and help stop Complex Transformation.

In the coming months, Congress will be considering $40 million in funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead, which is a new generation of nuclear weapons that may open the door to nuclear testing in the future. They will also consider $100 million for a new facility at the Los Alamos Lab to create up to 80 new plutonium pits, the core of a nuclear bomb, per year. I will be keeping a close eye on what happens in Congress and let you know what you can do to help.

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