Sunday, October 18, 2009

VRRBAC meeting will be held Monday, October 19, 2009

The next VRRBAC meeting will be held Monday, October 19, 2009

from 10 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at the

Bedford County Administration Office, Ground Floor Training Room

122 E. Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523!

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Agenda
Monday, October 19, 2009
10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Bedford, VA
A. Call meeting to order
B. Welcome; Recognition of Members and Guests
C. Consider Minutes of August 21, 2009 Meeting
D. Presentations
Virginia's Stormwater Regulations
Jan Briede, DCR Stormwater Outreach Manager
Smith Mountain Lake FERC Re- licensing Status, EIS
Russ Johnson, Franklin County Board of Supervisors and VRRBAC member
E. Sub-Committee Reports/Review of draft Structure
Agriculture and Forestry Sub-Committee - Haywood Hamlet, Chair
Lake Interests Sub-Committee - No Chair
Permit Holders Sub-Committee - John Lindsey, Chair
Public Officials and Government Entities Sub-Committee - Robert Conner, Chair
Roanoke River Interests Sub-Committee - Read Charlton, Chair
F. Next Meeting Date/Topic /Location
G. Other Business
H. Adjournment
Committee Members
Senator Wm. Roscoe Reynolds Walter Coles, Sr., Chatham
Senator Frank M. Ruff John H. Feild, Mecklenburg
Delegate Kathy J. Byron Haywood J. Hamlet, Phenix
Delegate Thomas C. Wright, Jr Evelyn Janney, Floyd
Delegate Onzlee Ware. Bob Jean, Brookneal
Delegate Charles D. Poindexter Russ Johnson, Wirtz
Representative Tom Perriello John Lindsey, Penhook
Mike McEvoy, Chairman, Roanoke Billy Martin, Sr., Blue Ridge
Tim Pace, Collinsville Robert H. Conner, Vice-Chair, Ebony
Mark Wagner, Huddleston Read Charlton, Vice-Chair, Charlotte
Court House

Petition against New Uranium Mining and Nuclear Power Plants in India

Comment: We are fighting against uranium mining and nuclear power all over the world!

Posted by Radical Notes October 18, 2009 at 12:06 am in Petition

To Smt. Pratibha Patil,
The President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110 001.

Copy to:

Sri Manmohan Singh,
The Prime Minister of India,
New Delhi – 110 001.

Sri Jairam Ramesh,
The Minister of Environment & Forests,
New Delhi – 110 001.


We are writing to you on behalf of the National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements.

It is to protest against the reported decision of the government of India to take a quantum leap in installed capacity for nuclear power generation, from the current level of 4,120 MW to 63,000 MW by 2032. This decision is but an invitation to disaster.

In this context, we will like to submit the following.

Nuclear power, contrary to orchestrated hypes, is actually costlier than power from conventional sources like coal, gas and hydro. And once all the hidden costs are factored in, it would be costlier than even from renewable sources, like wind, in particular.

More importantly, it is also intrinsically hazardous, as large amount of radiation is routinely released at every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle. An even more intractable problem is that of safe storage of nuclear waste and safe disposal of outlived power plants, given the fact that the half-lives of some of the radioactive substances involved are over even millions of years.

Even more disconcerting is, considering the complexity of the technology of a nuclear reactor; there is no way to ensure that a major accident at a nuclear power plant will never take place. And a major accident, given the nature of things, will just turn catastrophic affecting a very large number of people, over a large territory, over a very long period. The disastrous accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in the Ukraine province of the then USSR, on April 26 1986 is a chilling illustration.

The promise of nil greenhouse gas (GHG) emission is also nothing more than a myth if the entire fuel cycle – including mining, milling, transportation and construction of the power plant – is considered.

Moreover, nuclear energy with its highly centralized power production model would only further aggravate the problem by accentuating the current development paradigm reliant on mega-industries and actively blocking any possibility towards ecologically benign decentralized development.

The strong linkage between nuclear power and weapons – in terms of large overlaps in technology, in turn triggering strong political push – of which India itself is a graphic illustration can also be overlooked only at our own peril given the genocidal, and suicidal, character of the nuclear weapon.

As nuclear power is economically unattractive and socially unacceptable, on account of radiation hazards and risks of catastrophic accidents, no order for new nuclear reactors was placed in the USA and most of West Europe during the last 30 years, since the Three Mile Island accident in the US in 1979.

The US and European companies in nuclear power plant equipment and nuclear fuel business are thus looking to Asia for markets – India, China and Japan spearheading the current expansion programme.

It is unfortunate that the Indian government is becoming their willing collaborator in this in pursuit of its megalomaniac hunt for nuclear power and weapon. It has thus, over a period of just one year, rushed to enter into agreements with as many as seven countries, viz. the US, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Mongolia and Argentina.

So far, nuclear power production capacity in India is very small, only about 3 percent of the total electricity generation capacity; and the veil of secrecy surrounding the existing nuclear power plants in the country, and absence of any truly independent monitoring agency, has seriously hindered dissemination of information on accidents – large and small – at these plants and their public scrutiny. That explains the current low level of popular awareness as regards the grave threats posed by the nuclear industry.

Taking advantage of this, the government of India is now set to steamroll its massive expansion program.

The contention that nuclear power is indispensable to meet future energy needs is false; for energy demand, and “need”, is obviously a function of the development paradigm chosen and pursued. And “energy security” is not an autonomous entity or objective, but must be in alignment with other chosen objectives which must include equitable growth and concerns for ecology.

Viewed thus, “energy security” may be achieved by: (I) Increasing efficiency of electricity generation, transmission and distribution. (II) Doing away with extravagant and wasteful use of energy. (III) Pursuing a path of low-energy intensity and decentralised development. (IV) Making optimum use of alternative energy options. (IV) Radically raising investment in development of sustainable and renewable energy sources and technologies, especially wind and solar energy.

As a part of its expansion program, the government of India has announced plans to expand the nuclear power plant coming up at Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu). Additional four reactors from Russia of 1,200 MWe each, in the immediate or near future, are to come up over and above the two of 950 MWe each, presently under construction. The process for setting up a nuclear plant at Jaitapur (Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra) has also reached an advanced stage. The French company Areva is set to supply two new generation reactors of 1650 MWe each, to be followed by another two. Land acquisition notices have been served on the local people to acquire 981 hectare of land.

The government has reportedly already approved 15 new plants at eight sites. These sites are Kumharia in Haryana – meant for indigenous reactors; Kakrapar (indigenous reactors) and Chhayamithi Virdi (reactor from US) in Gujarat; Kovvada (reactor from US) in Andhra Pradesh; Haripur (reactor from Russia) in West Bengal; Koodankulam (reactor from Russia) in Tamil Nadu; and Jaitapur (reactor from France) in Maharashtra.

Similarly, the mad rush for more and more power plants is matched by an accelerated drive for uranium mining in newer areas: Andhra and Meghalaya, in particular. And this, despite the horrible experience of uranium mines in different parts of the world, as also in our own Jadugoda – where appalling conditions continue despite strong popular protests, spanning decades.

In view of all these facts enumerated above, we the undersigned demand that the government of India put a complete stop to the construction of all new uranium mines and nuclear power plants, and radically jack up investments in renewable and environmentally sustainable sources of energy.

We also earnestly urge you to intervene immediately.


Please Sign

Phillips: Moving Mountains for Energy

Stephanie Phillips, Associate Editor
Writing From: Portland, Oregon

The debut column of Stephanie Phillips’ “impacted community profile” series.

So we all know that the “environment” is a hot topic. Every day, there is growing energy in the media, in policy making and in debate devoted to the large-scale environmental problems of the world. We all know about climate change, the ozone hole and rainforest destruction and we all either love or hate the posed solutions of cap and trade and carbon taxes, nuclear power and “green jobs.”

Ultimately, however, the “environmental problem” is both more macro and more micro than these hot issues. I see these as only symptoms of a larger societal problem, tied to the basic ways that people relate to both energy and to capitalism. We are addicted to energy, and currently produce it in a way and on a scale that we know cannot be sustained – resources we rely on will run out and the “landfill” of the atmosphere will fill up.

Simultaneously, our economic structure so heavily discounts the future, making these problems incredibly difficult to solve politically. We have yet to find a way to effectively incorporate long-term environmental consequences into the cost of energy and carbon pollution, and thus the price of commodities and the freedom to pollute significantly deflates the price of energy.

Further, due to the economic efficiency of centralized production and distribution, power generation and its ugly consequences come in the form of huge generating facilities and resource extraction projects that are so far removed from urban and suburban centers, that the average person can easily claim ignorance as to the effects of our energy use. Thus, in a way, when we turn on the lights at night, it’s almost magic; it just comes through the walls and into our lives. We understand the consequences in theory, but in our day to day lives, we pay the low electric
bill once a month, and ta-da: we have access to an endless supply of electrons!

It isn’t endless though, and there are other destructive effects to our energy addiction and to this “efficient” method of power generation. Climate change is one we are all aware of, certainly, and yet at the same time it remains an elusive idea that is difficult to pinpoint and relate to the personal. There are other effects though, direct and harmful effects on local communities linked to the realities of power generation, both in the United States and abroad. These are happening now and their effects on people are very visible and tangible.

Therefore, I want to take the opport unity, in a monthly “impacted community profile” to describe in depth some of these more local environmental problems in the United States (that are linked to the same energy-use disease that has caused climate change), and how average Americans are affected by our energy dependence.

Impacted Region: Appalachia
Energy Type: Coal

Problem: Method of extraction – mountain-top removal

Coal combustion accounts for 22% of US energy needs and 51% of our electric needs. Coal is in domestic abundance and the United States exports it to other countries.

The affected region is Appalachia – which includes West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, etc. This is coal country, and it has been providing the nation with a significant power source for over a century. Traditionally it is extracted via dangerous underground mines, however beginning in the 1960s, many companies began using a far easier method of extraction

– rather than digging for coal in a mountain, they simply dynamite the top of the mountain off entirely, exposing the coal seams, and then scrape coal out directly. The method is called mountain top removal. Entire mountain tops are left barren and exposed in the process, and locals are forced to endure the increased risks of landslides, water and air toxicity, exploding rock, horrible noise, devastated environments and fewer and fewer jobs.

The local effects are horrific. First, a location on top of a mountain is clear-cut, and all vegetation is removed. Clear cutting is not only a horrible eye-sore for a region, but it destroys local ecosystems, and leaves loose soil, which is more conducive to landslides. This poses a direct threat to nearby property owners.

Second, dynamite is used to blast away the upper layers (up to 800 ft) of the mountain, exposing the coal. Large rock explosions can be dangerous to nearby homes.

Third, large machines are used to remove the loose earth. Dry land waste or “overburden” is pushed into valleys, destroying local ecosystems. Over 700 miles of headwater streams in the region have been buried by valley fill.

Fourth, the exposed coal is scooped up and hauled away to be used to in power generation. It must first be washed to remove excess soil and rock, which generates sludge – a liquid mixture of coal and earth that is collected and stored in sludge ponds trapped by dams at mine locations.

There are over 600 sludge impoundments in the southeast region, and spills pose a potential risk. This past December, a coal sludge holding pond at a power plant in Tennessee broke and over 500 million gallons of toxic sludge dumped into the local environment, damaging homes and devastating the area for miles. The spill entered the local water supply as well, posing potential long-term health effects to those in the region.
Once the process if finished, the land left behind is hideous – a barren exposed wasteland.

Mountain top removal poses huge risks to local communities, in terms of toxics exposure and landslides. Simultaneously, it provides very few jobs for the community, and does not bolster the economy in the way traditional coal mining does. The process is popular because it is cheap and easy – and can be performed primarily with machines.

There is no good reason to support mountain top mining of coal. It benefits coal companies only and keeps energy prices even more deflated. Coal is already the most environmentally damaging fossil fuel: it emits the most CO2 in combustion, while also emitting many other pollutants that cause acid rain and deteriorate human health. It dirties the air with particulate matter and increases asthma rates. It wastes the most energy in production, with efficiency rates in the 30% range (meaning it wastes up to 70% of potential energy). On top of all this, the existence of mountain top removal renders it even worse. It is amazing to me that this practice continues despite growing environmental awareness.

Activists have been fighting mountain top removal and coal-fired generation for decades. October 30th is an “end mountain top removal” day of action. I implore you to engage your political voice, join in the protest, and voice your support of stopping this terrible practice. Simultaneously, I implore you to remember where your energy comes from, and use as little as you can.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry

by Nathan Hodge

Synopses & Reviews
ISBN13: 9781596913783
ISBN10: 1596913789

Review-a-Day (What is Review-a-Day?)

"In their new book, A Nuclear Family Vacation, Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger quote Tom Vanderbilt's aphorism that 'all wars end in tourism.' Because World War III may leave no tourists behind, Hodge and Weinberger, a husband-and-wife journalistic team, wisely decide to get their nuclear tourism in beforehand by visiting nuclear sites in 10 U.S. states and 5 countries. The idea that they are tourists is something of a conceit, though: They visit many sites that would be closed to the rest of us, prepare for road trips by reading government reports rather than Fodor's travel guides, and score interviews with senior officials everywhere they go." Hugh Gusterson, American Scientist (read the entire American Scientist review)

Synopses & Reviews
Publisher Comments:

Two Washington, D.C., defense reporters do for nukes what Sarah Vowell did for presidential assassinations in this fascinating, kaleidoscopic portrait of nuclear weaponry.

In A Nuclear Family Vacation, husband-and-wife journalists Sharon Weinberger and Nathan Hodge hit the open road to explore the secretive world of nuclear weaponry. Along the way, they answer the questions most nuclear tourists dont get to ask: Are nuclear weapons still on hair-trigger alert? Is there such a thing as a suitcase nuke? Is Iran really building the bomb?

Together, Weinberger and Hodge visit top-secret locations like the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in Iran, the United States Kwajalein military outpost in the Marshall Islands, the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, and “Site R,” a bunker known as the “Underground Pentagon,” rumored to be Vice President Cheneys personal “undisclosed location” of choice. Their atomic road trip reveals plans to revitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, even as the United States pushes other countries to disarm. Weaving together travel writing with world-changing events, A Nuclear Family Vacation unearths unknownand often quite entertainingstories about the nuclear world.


"With the end of the Cold War, a drastically downsized nuclear weapons establishment has suffered an antiapocalypse — missile silos abandoned and crumbling, shell-shocked industry survivors bereft of a reason to go on. In this adventure in 'nuclear tourism,' the husband-and-wife authors, both defense journalists, poke through the rubble for signs of life. Their itinerary includes deserted test sites in Nevada and Kazakhstan; a West Virginia hotel whose basement conceals a blast-proof bunker once intended to house Congress; an Iranian uranium-processing facility; and an active missile-launch site in Wyoming.

They interview weapon scientists and generals to understand why aging nuclear arsenals are retained and revamped without a rival superpower, and uncover a gamut of rationales: national paranoia in Russia, at the Pentagon mystifying world-is-flat globalization theory. Framing this inquiry as a travelogue is a bit gimmicky: nuclear installations are functional, drab and unevocative, so for color the authors often fall back on Borat-esque culture-clash comedy or the absurdist security rigmaroles they endure. But they do convey an acute sense of the incoherence of latter-day nuclear strategizing. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)


“[Hodge and Weinberger] succeed admirably in reminding us that nuclear weapons have "never really gone away" and in calling attention to the crucial public debates that are not taking place. The questions they pose are significant and overdue; the answers they receive unsettling…They remind us that the purpose and future of our nuclear arsenal are too important to be left to those whose jobs remain dependent upon its perpetuation.”

Chicago Tribune “A Nuclear Family Vacation is an eye-opening read for anyone who thinks that nuclear weapons are a thing of the past.” Nerve

“How are you spending your next holiday? Tired of the same old thing? You might want to pick a different destination from A Nuclear Family Vacation, a new book and travel guide by veteran defence reporters Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger.

This husband-and-wife team take the reader on a rapid, darkly comic tour of nuclear weapons sites across the world. A rare achievement in a nuclear policy book, their narrative demystifies an intimidating topic for a broad audience without sacrificing substance. Instead of pontificating on thermonuclear war, Hodge and Weinberger give us an eye-level view, often through their car window…the book sparkles with anecdotes and insights. It is well worth the trip.” Nature

“Some people trek to Machu Picchu, some dive on the Great Barrier Reef. Those of us interested in nuclear issues visit the monuments and precincts of the Bomb. Such are husband-and-wife journalists Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger.” New Scientist

“In A Nuclear Family Vacation, a husband-and-wife duo of Washington, DC-based defense reporters takes a journey deep into the nation's nuclear weapons complex. But waitthis turns out to be a surprisingly fun road trip.” Mother Jones

“In this off-the-uncontaminated-path adventure, Sharon Weinberger and Nathan Hodge make nuclear vacationing seem fun, in a weirdly exhilarating way. They are the slightly obsessed tour guides holding the microphones at the front of the security-cleared bus. Together, the experts lead us across a neglected, mismanaged, and forgotten past, pointing out the history of doomsday weaponry along the way. A Nuclear Family Vacation is a shocking reminder that the Cold War isnt over; its just transformed into something else that we dont have a name for yet.”Robert Sullivan, author of Cross Country and Rats

“A vacation for some, a nightmare for others. Either way, well worth reading.” Kirkus Reviews

“Exhibiting dark humor, defense journalists Hodge and Weinberger take a tour of Americas nuclear-weapons infrastructure, visiting labs, plants, bunkers, missile silos, and ground zeros of nuclear explosions.”


“In this adventure in ‘nuclear tourism, the husband-and-wife authors…convey an acute sense of the incoherence of latter-day nuclear strategizing.”Publishers Weekly

“Nuclear tourism is an effective and interesting way of canvassing issues we face today. Reading A Nuclear Family Vacation is a good way to learn more about the history of nuclear weapons and become conversant with our current situation.

Hodge and Weinberger have done the legwork to back up their common-sense conclusions.”Defense Technology International “Under­lying their journey into our nuclear past is an earnest and thoughtful discussion of our nuclear presentand future…They identify a troubling lack of a cohesive national nuclear policy and remark that “much of the infrastructure supporting nuclear weapons continues to exist merely because no one has come up with a compelling reason to shut it down.” One can imagine an updated version of A Nuclear Family Vacation in which the two visit sites in Pakistan, India, China, North Korea, Israel, Russia, France, Great Britain, and heaven knows where else. The itinerary is not as finite as one would like; in fact, it seems to be growing. But there would be some comfort in having these sober and subtle observers as our guides.”Bookforum

Journalists Hodge and Weinberger hit the open road to explore the secretive world of nuclear weaponry. Weaving together travel writing with world-changing events, "A Nuclear Family Vacation" unearths unknown--and often quite entertaining--stories about the nuclear world.
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About the Author

Sharon Weinberger is a contributing writer for Wireds national security blog, Danger Room. She was previously editor in chief of McGraw-Hills Defense Technology International and a writer for Aviation Week & Space Technology, a leading aerospace and defense magazine. She is the author of the recently published Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagons Scientific Underworld, and writes frequently on national security and science for the Washington Post Magazine, Slate, and Discover.

Nathan Hodge is a Washington, D.C.-based writer for Janes Defence Weekly. A frequent contributor to Slate, he has reported extensively from Afghanistan, Iraq, and the former Soviet Union. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and Details, among many other newspapers and magazines.

Nobel Prize For Economics: Elinor Ostrom, Oliver Williamson Win

10/12/09 05:49 PM

WASHINGTON — One scholar studies how best to manage resources like forests, fisheries and oilfields. A fellow American looks at why some companies grow so large. Together they're winners of this year's Nobel Prize in economics for groundbreaking work that could affect efforts to prevent another global financial crisis.

Elinor Ostrom, 76, known for her work on the management of common resources, is the first woman to win a Nobel in economics. She shares this year's prize with Oliver Williamson, 77, who pioneered the study of how and why companies structure themselves and how they resolve conflicts.

Monday's final prizes of 2009 capped a year in which a record five women won Nobels. And it was an exceptionally strong year for the United States, too. Eleven American citizens, some of them with dual nationality, were among the 13 Nobel winners, including President Barack Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it chose Ostrom and Williamson for work that "advanced economic governance research from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention." They will share the $1.4 million prize.

Ostrom showed how common resources – forests, fisheries, oilfields, grazing lands and irrigation systems – can be managed successfully by the people who use them, rather than by governments or private companies.

"What we have ignored is what citizens can do and the importance of real involvement of the people involved – as opposed to just having somebody in Washington ... make a rule," Ostrom, a political scientist at Indiana University, said during a brief session with reporters in Bloomington, Ind.

Williamson, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, focused on how companies and markets differ in resolving conflicts. He found that companies are typically better able than markets to resolve conflicts when competition is limited, the citation said.

The academy did not specifically mention the global financial crisis. But many of the problems at the heart of it – bonuses, executive compensation, risky and poorly understood securities – involve a perceived lack of oversight.

Read more at:

NOTICE OF MEETING:Renewable Energy Subcommittee of the Commission on Energy and Environment


September 25, 2009


TO: Members, Renewable Energy Subcommittee, of the Energy and Environment Commission
FROM: Angi Murphy, Senate Committee Operations
RE: Meeting Date/Time/Location

A meeting of the Renewable Energy Subcommittee of the Commission on Energy and Environment has been scheduled for Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in the Pittsylvania County Public Library (Gretna Branch) at 207 Coffey Street, Gretna VA 24557.


The Honorable Charles D. Poindexter, Chair
The Honorable Joseph P. Johnson, Jr.
Patrick G. Hatcher
Hugh E. Montgomery
August Wallmeyer
Arlen Bolstad
David K. Paylor
Stephen A. Walz

Enclosure (s):

cc: The Honorable Susan Clarke Schaar
The Honorable Bruce F. Jamerson
Ellen Porter, Division of Legislative Services
Patrick Cushing, Division of Legislative Services
Mail List for Virginia Commission on Energy and Environment

Friday, October 16, 2009

7th Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum

october 22, 23, 24 2009
Sky City hotel & casino
I- 40 at Exit 102, Acoma Pueblo, NM


Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is a two time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party. As Program Director of the Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities. Winona LaDuke will be speaking at the Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 9AM.

The 7th Indigenous Uranium Forum proposes to focus much needed public attention on the rape of Mount Taylor and to serve as a vehicle to launch a regional inter-tribal campaign to end this madness in the Grants Mineral Belt, Lakota Lands, and elsewhere in Indian Country from the Grand Canyon to White Mesa where deadly and runaway uranium technology threatens the lives of future of our water, land, people, and our winged, four legged and those that crawl relatives.

The 7th Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum we will focus on the recent onslaught of exploratory measures to mine and mill uranium in the Grants Mineral Belt. Due to recent price fluctuations of uranium on the world market and United States energy policy still emphasizing nuclear power as an answer to global warming and climate change, we will inform and educate participants of local, national and international nuclear issues impacting Indigenous peoples. The forum will also prioritize presentations on health issues impacting both mining and non-mining populations living in contaminated communities. We will use the forum as an organizing and network initiative to help us better understand the work Indigenous people are doing to fight nuclear power in their communities and move toward alternative forms of energy such as wind and solar.

Set in the stunning landscape of Utah's Monument Valley, this unforgettable, universally acclaimed documentary chronicles the extraordinary saga of how a rediscovered 1950s silent film reel leads to the return of a long-lost brother to his Navajo family. Since the 1930s, members of the Cly family have lived in Monument Valley and appeared as subjects in countless photographs, postcards, and Hollywood westerns -- even in a home movie by legendary director John Ford and a propaganda film by a uranium mining company. The film "The Return of Navajo Boy" will be screened at the Forum Friday, October 23, 2009 at 7PM.

Special acknowledgement to the following supporters:

7th Generation Fund
Lannan Foundation
Western Mining Action Network
Available Media, Inc.
Beyond Nuclear
Phil Harrison, Navajo Nation Council Delegate (Cove & Red Valley)

History of Forum:

November 2006 saw the birth of Indigie Femme. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA international performers Indigie Femme combines their traditional and original songs, dance and storytelling, Indigie Femme’s vision is to create global cross-cultural exchange. The lively performances weave ethnic cultures through song, dance, storytelling and facilitating educational workshops in North America and the world. Indigie Femme will be performing at the Forum Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 5PM.

Uranium Mining in a National Park

Posted on October 16, 2009 by archiearchive FCD

Here in the Rudall River National Park we are soon to discover that a National Park is just like your back yard.

If there is a mineral there and someone wants to mine it, they can and will mine it.

In our case, the mineral is uranium and the back yard is the home of the traditional Martu people. A place where they hunt, where they swim in the water holes and where the footprint of man is washed away with the next season’s rains.

Unless they are the men are from Cameco. In which case they will mine uranium from a parcel of land which used to be a part of a gazetted National Park. This parcel was excised from the Park by a Government decree.

So for maybe seven or ten years a mine will operate and then the miners will leave.

Left behind will be the pollution they promise won’t happen.

Just like at the Ranger Uranium Mine in the Kakadu National Park. I mean “the Ranger Uranium Mine with-in the Kakadu National Park.” For that was another parcel of land excised from a National Park.

There are 100,000 litres of contaminated water leaking into the ground water each day from the Ranger mine. The Australian Government says we should not be worried about this.

And they are quite correct. There is no need for any politician in Canberra, no bureaucrat in his ivory tower or any mining executive in his overseas mansion to worry about that contamination. After all, his children and grand children will not hunt the land, relying on the groundwater for their life. They will not swim in the contaminated water holes nor eat the fish caught in those waterholes.

No uranium mine in Australia has failed to pollute the land it is on or the land outside the mine’s boundaries.

But the Government tells us we should not worry.

Coal Country Documentary Exposes Environmental Tragedy

Check out the trailer below, then look for the premiere on Planet Green November 15th.

October 15, 2009

Coal Country, a documentary about the battle fought over coal mining in Appalachia, exposes the environmental tragedy and social conflicts that have arisen from mining coal.

The Sierra Club is heavily promoting the film by sending out 45-minute promotional videos, promoting their own agenda to rid the US of its reliance on coal.

--Alison Kelman

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Public Supports Protecting Grand Canyon and One Million Acres of Public Lands From Mining

For Immediate Release, October 15, 2009

Contacts: Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter, (602) 999-5790
Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 310-6713
Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust, (928) 774-7488

Public Supports Protecting Grand Canyon and One Million Acres of Public Lands From Mining
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— Today conservationists join tribal leaders, city and county officials, and people from throughout Arizona in supporting the protection of one million acres of public lands near Grand Canyon. Supporters of the protections will attend a public hearing this evening in Flagstaff to tell the Interior Department to move forward with a mineral withdrawal to protect the lands from future mining activities. The hearing will be held at the High Country Conference Center at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff starting at 6:00 p.m.

“This is an exciting opportunity to provide protections for the land and the waters around Grand Canyon as well as for the Colorado River and the drinking water for millions of people in the Southwest,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “We are asking that the Department of the Interior move forward with a proposed action to safeguard this area from uranium mining for the next 20 years.”

In August, Interior announced its preparation of an environmental impact statement evaluating a proposed 20-year “mineral withdrawal” that would prohibit new mining claims and the exploration or mining of existing claims without valid existing rights across nearly one million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. The purpose of the mineral withdrawal would be to protect Grand Canyon’s watersheds from the adverse effects of new uranium exploration and mining. If approved, the withdrawal would extend and strengthen protections set forth in the two-year land segregation announced by the Department on July 20, 2009.

“New uranium mining would pose unacceptable risks to Grand Canyon’s watersheds and wildlife,” said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Department of the Interior’s proposed mineral withdrawal would help to abate those risks and secure the Grand Canyon’s future.”

Spikes in uranium prices have caused thousands of new uranium claims, dozens of proposed exploration drilling projects, and proposals to reopen old uranium mines adjacent to Grand Canyon. Renewed uranium development threatens to degrade wildlife habitat and industrialize now-wild and iconic landscapes bordering the park; it also threatens to contaminate aquifers that discharge into Grand Canyon National Park and the Colorado River.

“Uranium mining has already done irreparable harm to our region’s people, water, and land,” said Grand Canyon Trust spokesman Roger Clark. “We should not repeat the mistakes of the past on our public watersheds surrounding the Grand Canyon.”

Proposed uranium development on the lands involved in the withdrawal has drawn criticism from scientists, city officials, county officials, former Governor Janet Napolitano, the Navajo, Kaibab-Paiute, Hopi, Hualapai and Havasupai tribes, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Statewide polling conducted by Public Opinion Strategies shows overwhelming public support for withdrawing from mineral entry the lands near Grand Canyon; Arizonans support protecting the Grand Canyon area from uranium mining by a two-to-one margin.

The deadline for public comment on the first phase of the mineral withdrawal analysis is October 26, 2009. Comments can be submitted at the meeting, emailed to or mailed to Grand Canyon Mining Withdrawal Project, ATTN: Scott Florence, District Manager, Arizona Strip District Office, 345 E. Riverside Drive, Saint George, UT 84790-6714.

Mountaintop Mining, Up Close and Personal

by SolveClimate Staff - Oct 14th, 2009

Words alone can’t describe what mountaintop mining is doing to Appalachia, its streams and the lives of its people.

Coal companies have dynamited more than 470 mountaintops and pushed the debris into valleys, burying hundreds of miles of streams and contaminating the water with metals such as nickel, lead, cadmium, iron and selenium.

From those bare expanses, the mining companies strip out the coal and then move on to the next mountain. The treeless landscapes, meanwhile, can create dangerous flash flooding for nearby residents, and the mining debris can render their well water undrinkable.

In a new 20-minute documentary produced by Yale Environment 360 and MediaStorm, Chad Stevens takes his video camera inside the community meetings, homes and offices of the people on both sides of the front lines, capturing their emotions and letting them tell the story. The producers' goal was to show the many views of the conflict and provide an environmental science perspective.

“I wanted us to really show what is happening on the ground there, which is really stunning in some cases and hard to describe in the written word,” said Yale's Roger Cohn, an executive producer of Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining.

The video is worth watching.

It flips from residents like Debbie Jarrell of Rock Creek, W.Va., who has fought strip mining on Coal River Mountain:

"What do you tell your grandchildren? We used to have clean water. We used to be able to drink it out of the creek. We used to be able to go up that hollow — well, there’s not a hollow now — but we used to be able to go up there and pick berries."

To the people in charge of laws and regulations, like West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin:

"The reality is that 50 percent of the energy for the United States comes from coal. You can't keep the country running without it and be competitive in a global economy. … We've got to use what we have."

To experts like Jack Spadaro, a mining health and safety consultant and former mine inspector:

"We’ve just obliterated one of the most advanced ecosystems in the world."

And biology professor Ben Stout of Wheeling Jesuit University:

"We’re also burying one of the most productive forests in the world, one very capable of capturing and sequestering carbon."

To industry representatives, like West Virginia Coal Association’s Chris Hamilton, whose claims defy science and get at the corporate truth:

“Mountains are not destroyed. Water systems are not destroyed here in West Virginia."

"… I hear that all the time: ‘They’re impacting our mountains.’ Well, they’re not ‘our mountains’. Those mountains have been bought."

The same arguments erupted again this week at public hearings on mountaintop mining, where the Army Corps of Engineers heard from environmentalists, area residents and hundreds of coal miners worried about their jobs if the federal government tightened its rules.

In Pikeville, Ky., miners said their employers gave them the day off and bused them in to fill the auditorium. Just ahead of those hearings, the Sierra Club released a report saying that other types of mining in Appalachia employ more workers and suggesting that mountaintop mining costs states more that it generates.

The disputes over strip mining the Appalachian Mountains have become raucous, and threatening in some places, where miners fearful for their livelihoods have clashed with protesters fearful for the environment and residents for their mountain homes.

In another new documentary, Coal Country, Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch describes what's going on with mountaintop mining as a war:

"It's families against families," she says. "Upton Sinclair once said that it's hard to get a man to understand something when his paycheck depends upon him not understanding it."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Night blockade against uranium mining in Meghalaya

October 14th, 2009 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS

Shillong, Oct 14 (IANS) The influential Khasi Students Union (KSU) has announced a two-night road blockade in Meghalaya beginning Wednesday to protest a proposed uranium mining project in the state.

The road blockade would affect vehicular movement, specially night passenger buses and goods laden trucks, on the national highways between Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

The blockade will be on from 7 p.m. till 5 a.m. Wednesday, and then again for the same duration Thursday.

“The KSU at a meeting Tuesday decided to intensify its stir… to protest the Meghalaya government’s decision to lease out land to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL),” said KSU president Samuel B. Jyrwa.

“The KSU believes the uranium project would harm the environment and health of people living adjoining areas,” Jyrwa said.

The state government has tightened security across the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of southeastern Meghalaya.

“We are concerned that the proposed road blockades may affect other northeastern states too,” Meghalaya principal secretary (home) Barkos Warjri told reporters here.

Police heads of the four districts — East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi — have been asked to see that the traffic flow along the national and other highways are not disturbed due to the night blockade.

Chief Minister D.D. Lapang told reporters: “The uranium reserves are a national property and no one can stop the government from using them.”

“The government has waited for 20 long years to persuade the people to allow uranium mining at Domiasiat in West Khasi Hills district of southern Meghalaya.”

The KSU and local parties have been spearheading the movement against the Meghalaya government’s decision to allow the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to carry out pre-project development programmes in 422 square hectares in the uranium-rich areas of West Khasi Hills.

A senior Meghalaya government official said the union ministry of environment and forests had already allowed UCIL to start uranium mining for the annual production of 375,000 tonnes of uranium ore and processing of 1,500 tonnes of the mineral ore per day in West Khasi Hills district.

The UCIL has proposed a Rs.1,046 crore open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Domiasiat in the West Khasi Hills district. Meghalaya has an estimated 9.22 million tones of uranium ore deposits.

Read more:

Vote may delay arrival of depleted uranium in Utah

By The Associated Press Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s Radiation Control Board has voted to allow more depleted uranium into the state only after the company that wants to take it submits a report confirming that additional steps to safeguard the waste will work.

On Tuesday the board voted to require EnergySolutions Inc. to complete a “site performance assessment” before additional depleted uranium comes to Utah.

The move comes less than a month after the board refused to block the disposal of the low-level radioactive waste in the state.

A board vote in September removed any obstacles to EnergySolutions’ plans to dispose of depleted uranium waste from the Savannah River site, a former nuclear weapons complex in South Carolina, at the company’s facility about 70 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Coal, Environmentalists Massing for Corps Hearings

Six public hearings, one each in six affected states, begin today and give both sides the chance to defend their positions on mountaintop removal mining, which is a flash point in Appalachia's coalfields.

Oct 13, 2009

Six public hearings beginning today by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concern its pending proposal to require coal mining companies to obtain individual Clean Water Act permits for dumping material resulting from mountaintop removal mining into valleys of Appalachia. Companies have used a streamlined permitting process up to now, but the Corps proposed to change or eliminate the streamlined process in July 2009 and announced it will hold these hearings – one in each of the six affected states – Oct. 13 and Oct. 15. Environmentalists opposed to mountaintop removal mining and coal companies are reportedly massing supporters to defend their positions on the practice, which is scrutinized both in Ken Ward Jr.’s Coal Tattoo blog and in a Sept. 30 article, "The Coalfield Uprising," posted by The Nation and written by Jeff Biggers, who has a book coming out soon from Nation Books.

The hearings will start at 7 p.m. local time. The Oct. 13 locations are Charleston, W.Va., Pikeville, Ky., and Knoxville, Tenn., and the Oct. 15 locations are Pittsburgh, Pa., Cambridge, Ohio, and Big Stone Gap, Va.

Tim Huber of the Associated Press reported last week that the Sierra Club is organizing carpools to attend the hearings, while the National Mining Association is organizing mountaintop removal mining supporters to attend.