August 10, 2012
CALL TO LINE FOR LEADERSHIP
(Leadership In Nuclear Energy)
I received the call on Wednesday to consider testifying at a LINE (Leadership in Nuclear Energy) Commission meeting Friday, August 10th at our state Capitol Building. The agenda item their desire to delete the 1995 Agreement, a public mandate “NO MORE NUCLEAR WASTE DEPOSITS” in Idaho. I was startled by the “arrogance and ignorance” they had to change/or ignore this decree.
I knew immediately I had to show up and to speak. I canceled my afternoon appointment and courageously drove downtown to our elegant Capitol building. As I walked up the granite steps, I was touched with nostalgia. How many times in the past forty years had I stood on these steps and spoken on behalf of the Indigenous harmed Peoples, our waters and the abuses of the Nuclear Department of Energy.
When I finally found the Capitol auditorium and walked through the open doors, I saw very few citizens in the audience. The “jury” of LINE commissioners, which included congressmen, legislatures and the Nuclear advocates sat in their dark suits haloed by giant screens, 5 of them, dominating the public’s view with (AREVA) propaganda. It was very clear to me how powerful the drive, the advocacy, was that demanded I show up and have a voice.
I listened to the nuclear advocate promote the money Idaho would receive by rescinding the ban on more waste. She droned on and on and on, much like an auctioneering bantering to get more bids. Thus she consumed some of the time allotment for public testimony, the last agenda item on their schedule.
I heard the LINE commentator apologize but they were all busy men and they would adjourn on time. So sorry if the public isn’t heard and by the way you have only 5 minutes of testimony time each.
I sat beside my long time sacred activist, founder of the Snake River Alliance. The audacity of the NUKE INDUSTRY to project many benefits over Idaho’s environment and our humanity caused us both to jerk and hold our breath. I became a beacon for justice and civil rights. There were seven of us allowed to speak. My improved state of health (post traumatic brain injury as a result of a near fatal accident) had me only trembling but I had voice.
Here is what I remember sharing:
My name is Suzanne Lewis and I am a fifth generation Idahoan. I am a “Downwinder” who survived endocrine system collapse. I directed my gaze on a Congressman and stated, “You have seen and heard me speak before regarding the ways we Idahoans were made dispensable/waste during the fifties above ground nuclear testing when the DOE chose to aim their toxic debris deliberately towards the Northwest, Idaho, and saturated us with health altering poisons.
I am here to report that we here in Idaho have an out of control epidemic, I call DOWNWINDERS EPIDEMIC and it is alive and out of control right and destroying 10s of thousands of Idahoan families and their quality of life. (Glandular disorders—diabetes—thyroid—reproductive-adrenal/immune disorders—cancer-especially in the brain—heart disease-depression-ADD-PTSD—bipolar mental disease-addictions and abuse)
I believe it’s only been in the last five years that the Dept. of Energy reluctantly released the documentation maps plotting the proliferation of toxic nuclear debris. Today in Boise the air quality is very poor as a result of many forest fires. Everything is dusted with ash. The mornings after the many above ground tests (that occurred in the dead of night with no warning to we Peoples) every leaf of grass, particle of soil, animal and waters had this kind of dusting.
We Idahoans have been made invisible, disposable by the U.S. Department of Energy and our very local and national legislative process. Downwinders have been helped with health research, education and treatment in Utah and other States but NOT IDAHOANS.
What I want to share with the LINE Commission today is in regards to my Son. In the early 2000’s he graduated from University of Idaho with multiple engineering degrees. Immediately Bechtel snatched him up and for close to a decade my son has been assigned to the leading edge technical,scientific research to meet the 2014 deadline for cleaning up and containment of nuclear waste. As a son of a “Downwinder”, he took this on for the sake of human safety and adequate storage/containment in order to sustain the potential of healthy earth life. His last employer was Areva and the U.S. D.E.
I heard the woman state: “ Areva’s 89% done with their obligations.” Look at what’s occurred with Yucca Mountain (the government’s projected big toilet/receiver of waste)? My understanding is that the Navaho’s considered it their sacred, MOTHER MOUNTAIN and somehow they were able to protect and shut down the government’s movement. Well we here in Idaho consider the deep underground aquiver, upon which INEEE (sp)l sits, as the HEART of the MOTHER. Her blood is our water ways, our rivers.
I begged my son to be a “WHISTLEBLOWER”; the 11% of the Governments agreement that’s incomplete has a lot of problems. They do not have the solutions. What they do have is unsolved globally threatening conditions.
Too much heat for my son to go public, instead he quit a little over a year ago—he walked away.
I am here today to say don’t be stupid. If this LINE Commission is truly about Leadership in Nuclear Energy, then take on the plight of Downwinders and Idahoan rights to research, healthcare, education and treatment. The way we Idahoan continue to be treated, excuse me, ignored and denigrated well it is a crime against our very American civil liberties.
LINE if you truly are leaders amend the ways of “Federal Disobedience”. Lead the way with integrity and truth telling. SEE US and REPRESENT the people and the land. There can be NO movement ANYWHERE of this potentially disastrous waste.