Accomplishments

Public pressure causes Department of Energy to extend Complex Transformation comment deadline

After initially refusing, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced today that it will extend the deadline for public comments on Complex Transformation from April 10th to April 30th. Groups across the country have been calling on the DOE to extend the public comment period an additional 90 days.

The New Mexico community, home to Sandia and Los Alamos Labs, pushed especially hard, with elected officials like Senator Jeff Bingaman and Representative Tom Udall calling for an extension of the public comment period. Complex Transformation is the Bush administration’s and DOE’s plan to revamp our nuclear weapons complex at 8 sites, from Livermore, CA to New Mexico and South Carolina, in order to build more nuclear weapons.

The official announcement from DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) stated that:

Thousands of citizens attended more than 80 hours of public hearings and provided more than 600 oral comments regarding NNSA’s proposed transformation plan. NNSA officials said that during the official 90 day public comment period, there were a total of 20 public hearings over a 36 day span at NNSA sites and other locations, and that it has already received more than 85,000 comments.

We’ve far exceeded our goal of 66,000 comments (twice the number of comments submitted in the first round of hearings). It would be incredible to hit 100,000 comments by the end of the month. If you haven’t already, you can click here to submit your comment in favor of nuclear disarmament. Ask your friends to comment, too. If you’ve already commented, but have more to say, the DOE allows you to submit multiple comments. Key committees in Congress are beginning to look at funding for Complex Transformation and a new nuclear weapon called the Reliable Replacement Warhead. A high number of comments can help show the public wants new policies, not new nukes.

The DOE went on to say:

While NNSA is required to provide 45 days for public comment on these types of documents, it decided at the start of the process to allow 90 days due to the complexity of the draft proposal.  In addition, NNSA made the executive summary of the draft available in December 2007 – almost a month before the public comment period started.

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Giving the public more time to read and comment is the least the DOE can do considering the whole document is the size of two telephone books. It’s an understatement to say the draft proposal is complex! The executive summary alone is about 100 pages – not exactly quick reading.

As a new scientific report on the disastrous effects of nuclear war shows, the issue of nuclear weapons puts the global community at risk. The public deserves more time to speak out for a nuclear policy that will make the world safer by working towards disarmament.