“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Will you speak up? One vital group is doing just that. The Snake River Alliance serves as Idaho’s nuclear watchdog and Idaho’s advocate for renewable and nuclear-free energy. They raise community awareness about the dangers of nuclear waste, weapons and power while working to identify and promote sustainable alternatives. Their work is done through advocacy, collaboration, education and grassroots organizing.
Here are seven key areas that make Snake River Alliance so important:
Nuclear Waste: We can’t afford to be silent. The risks of transporting deadly nuclear waste, the environmental justice impacts and the long-term health effects are profound. The challenge of making nuclear power safer doesn’t end after the power has been generated. Nuclear fuel remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years after it is no longer useful in a commercial reactor. The resulting waste disposal problem has become a major challenge for policymakers. Source: Union of Concerned Scientests
The recent rupture of a barrel of nuclear waste at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) highlights why Snake River Alliance is investing in a far-reaching public education campaign, Don’t Waste Idaho, to stop more shipments of nuclear waste to the Gem State.
Our goal is to stop the federal government from bringing in nuclear waste in violation of the 1995 Nuclear Settlement Agreement. The U.S. Department of Energy is proposing changes that would weaken the agreement —if the Idaho Governor and Attorney General agree to the new terms.
This has been a long fight. About Don’t Waste Idaho, former Governor Phil Batt said, “I’m grateful they are trying to get the agreement carried out. I want to stop any weakening of the agreement that I negotiated and signed with the federal government in 1995”.
Currently, INL stores hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid nuclear waste, thousands of barrels of plutonium waste, and hundreds of tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel. The INL sits directly above the Snake River Plain Aquifer and the fresh water supply for over 1/5th of Idaho’s residents. The State of Idaho’s own research shows that the water beneath the INL – and the radioactive isotopes it contains – will flow to the Magic Valley within 150 to 250 years.
In the 1950s and ’60s, plutonium-contaminated waste from the Rocky Flats H-bomb plant was buried in unlined pits and trenches in the Arco Desert above the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. Much of that waste is being exhumed and processed for shipping to a permanent disposal site in N.M.
Now, the Department of Energy plans to change the 1995 agreement so large quantities of nuclear waste can be brought to Idaho. There are also plans to bring in very radioactive commercial fuel rods to INL for “research” from Byron, IL.
Snake River Alliance is connected to the community. They are your neighbors. They are you and me. “When I learned that the federal government now wants to truck nuclear waste on I-84, right through Boise, I was horrified,” said Amber Labelle, a veterinary specialist who recently moved to the area and had no knowledge of Idaho’s nuclear waste issues. “As a mother and a scientist, I was shocked to learn about Idaho’s history of being used as a nuclear waste dump.”
Leslee Reed co-owns Onsen Farms in Buhl with her husband James Reed. As part of the Don’t Waste Idaho advisory board, they are calling on Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Gov. Butch Otter to make sure there is a clear plan for any additional nuclear waste that comes into Idaho leaving within one year.
“If we don’t enforce our existing agreement with the federal government, the Hanford waste could get stranded in Idaho and threaten our water,” said Leslee Reed.
They support renewable energy. It is superior to fossil fuels, which are non-renewable. The latter draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, the many types of renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy-are constantly replenished and will never run out. Renewable energy produces no waste products such as carbon dioxide or other chemical pollutants.
You will receive a massive return on your investment. Western states could save $600 million by using more renewable energy. The Rocky Mountain Institute analyzed a case study of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a coop that provides power to more than 1 million consumers in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
RMI found the coop’s customers could save over $600 million through 2030 if the co-op integrated more renewable energy resources instead of relying on its array of fossil fuel power plants. The savings could be realized by avoiding the operating expenses and fixed costs of the coop’s fossil-fuel power plants. RMI also just released a report on the subject.
So what are you waiting for? YOUR voice matters: Take Action Today!