Georgia WAND Takes Eight Woman Delegation to Washington!
Eight Georgia WAND members work to stop wasteful, risky nuclear weapons spending hikes and divert funds to environmental protection and non-proliferation
Eight members of Georgia WAND visited Washington, DC April 14 through 17 to oppose U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear projects, which will waste billions in taxpayer funds, damage the environment, and undermine the nation’s non-proliferation goals. The group met with several Georgia Congressmen, as well as David Huizenga, head of Environmental Management at the Department of Energy, and Allison Macfarlane, Chairperson of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
We worked in conjunction with colleagues from a dozen other states who participated in the 25th annual Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) "DC Days.” The group’s goal is to influence Congress to cut programs that fund new weapons and reactors and to redirect those funds toward cleaning up the toxic and radioactive legacy of nuclear weapons research, testing and production.
Specifically, Georgia WAND advocated for funding cuts to eliminate the mixed oxide plutonium (MOX) fuel plant at Savannah River Site and for the safer alternative of immobilizing weapons-grade excess plutonium in a large glass matrix.
We also continued the fight to restore environmental radiation monitoring to the communities downwind and downstream of SRS. We are working closely with the Department of Energy to find creative solutions to address the monitoring issue in a way that includes the local community in a program that will be ongoing for decades.
During our friendly meeting with Allison Macfarlane, the new Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Georgia WAND member Annie Laura Stephens brought her important perspective as a resident of Shell Bluff, the community in the shadow of nuclear Plant Vogtle. She raised concerns about lack of information, intimidation, and poor housing conditions in her community.
We also discussed the importance of using outreach tools accessible to the community and why citizens need more transparency and accountability from the NRC.
The trip was also an important time to hear from our colleagues who work on these issues at nuclear weapons sites across the country. A highlight was the annual ANA Awards Reception, where Georgia WAND Executive Director Bobbie Paul was awarded the secret Grassroots Activist of the Year Award for her deep commitment to environmental justice efforts in Georgia and South Carolina. She shared the stage with other awardees Judith Mohling, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, Kristen Iversen, Kathleen Sullivan and Diane Curran.
This year’s Georgia WAND contingent included Dominique Clarke, Stephanie Stapleton, Annie Laura Stephens, Dianne Valentin, Betsy Rivard, Cee Cee Anderson, Courtney Hanson and Bobbie Paul. A huge thanks goes out to everyone who helped send these women to Washington through generous financial contributions.