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Sign today to protect Georgia communities near nuclear sites!

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced Tuesday, January 31, that it does not plan to honor its promise to restore environmental monitoring in Georgia communities surrounding the Savannah River Site (SRS), a US nuclear weapons complex notorious for its Cold War legacy radioactive waste.

This monitoring, which was cut in Georgia 2003, tests drinking water, rain, crops, fish, air and more near SRS in order to protect residents in poor and rural areas, where many people rely on water from private wells, home-grown crops and fish from the Savannah River.

Sign this petition TODAY to ask the Department of Energy to keep their promise to protect Georgia communities near nuclear sites - reinstate monitoring NOW

The area also houses Plant Voglte, a nuclear power plant that Georgia Power plans to expand, adding two additional nuclear reactors to the existing two. Residents in the area are being doubly impacted by toxic pollution from both SRS and Plant Vogtle.

The DOE’s obstruction to environmental monitoring in Georgia is a gross example of environmental injustice. The people living downwind and downstream of SRS deserve to know what’s in the water, air and food that they consume.

The most recent Georgia monitoring data (from 2002) released in 2004 by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division shows elevated levels of radioactive tritium, cesium, strontium, plutonium, cobalt and iodine in Georgia communities surrounding SRS. The report showed dangerously high levels of tritium in river water, drinking water, fish and leafy vegetation.

SRS is located near Aiken, South Carolina on the Savannah River, which serves as the border between Georgia and South Carolina. The DOE funds $1.5 million annually for monitoring in South Carolina, but said funding it in Georgia would be redundant, and that the money is not available. But Georgia citizens living near SRS are concerned about their safety.
“I’ve lost sisters, brothers, cousins and friends to cancer. Every family I know has lost somebody,” said local resident Annie Laura Stephens. “We’ve tried to have meetings to find out what’s going on in our area, we’re still in the dark. It seems that nobody is listening but Jesus.”

In 2010, then DOE Assistant Secretary, Dr. Ines Triay pledged that monitoring would be restored to Georgia with a 5-year contract independent of any restrictions from SRS. In February 2011, SRS and DOE reached a deal with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for $700,000 annually with the agreement that the check would be delivered to Georgia within 30 days. The money was never sent and in July 2011, DOE reported they would only fund $300,000 annually, less than half of what the program received annually when the its funding was cut in 2003. Now, the offer is off the table.

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