Contact:       Joni Arends: 505-986-1973, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                    Don Hancock: 505-262-1862, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public Service Announcement

DOE Proposes WIPP Expansion

Virtual NMED Public Hearing - Monday, May 17th to Friday, May 21st

Instructions about How to Watch and Participatein English and Spanish below

The Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking to expand the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  It has applied for a permit to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) to dig a new shaft to expand WIPP to more than twice its current volume.

The DOE’s agreements with New Mexico were to stop taking waste in 2024, only take plutonium contaminated items, and locate repositories in other states so New Mexico would not bear the whole burden of disposing the nation’s nuclear weapons’ waste.

Instead, this new mission would continue sending waste to WIPP until 2080 and beyond and accept unauthorized concentrated plutonium, including 48 tonnes of plutonium from decommissioned weapons.  DOE has not located repositories in other states, although all 50 states have benefitted from the nation’s nuclear arsenal.  New Mexico did not agree to be the sole U.S. nuclear weapons’ waste repository for the nation.

DOE’s new mission to expand WIPP would ship concentrated plutonium 3,300 miles, back and forth across at least 7 states for many decades, putting thousands of communities at risk if an accident occurs. 


The Stop Forever WIPP Coalition is asking NMED to deny the permit.

Newsletters with more details can be found at our website and the public may participate with comments in the May 17th public hearing.


More information can be found at:, and


How You Can Watch and Participate in the Public Hearing:



The virtual public hearing will begin Monday, May 17, 2021 at 12:00 PM MDT. The Hearing will run during the following hours, on this day and on subsequent days, until complete, unless otherwise ordered by the Hearing Officer: 


12:00 – 4:00 PM and 6:00 – 9:00 PM MDT DAILY.


The hearing will afford an opportunity for all persons to present comments. 


The public hearing will be conducted remotely using Zoom and telephone.  The Zoom hearing may be joined through the following meeting link:



Phone one-tap:













US:+16699006833or+12532158782or+1346 2487799or+19294362866or








Any person having a disability and requiring assistance or auxiliary aid to participate in this processshouldcontactSuzettePorter,NMEDAmericanswithDisabilitiesAct(ADA)Coordinator,byphoneat

(505)827-2109,orviaemailat:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Toll-free numbers are available for TDD or TDY users to access the New Mexico Relay Network at 1-800-659-1779(voice);TTY users:1-800-659-8331.



Any person needing language services (e.g., an interpreter at a public meeting or hearing, documenttranslation)shouldcontactRicardoMaestasat(505)476-6000orbye-mailat:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Please note that Spanish interpretation services will be provided during this proceeding. The Zoomplatform provides an option to listen to, ask questions, and provide comments at the public hearing inSpanish.ThefollowingareinstructionsforlisteningtolanguageinterpretationontheZoomplatform:



  1. Inyourmeeting/webinarcontrols,click Interpretation.
  2. (Optional)Toheartheinterpretedlanguageonly,clickMuteOriginalAudio.



  1. Inyourmeetingcontrols,taptheellipsesicon(...).
  2. Tapthelanguageyouwouldliketo hear.
  3. (Optional)TapthetoggletoMuteOriginalAudio.


Inaddition,NMEDisprovidingacall-inconferencelineforpersonswithouttheabilityto accessZoom:SpanishCall-InConference Line: 800-747-5150




If internet access will be an issue for any person wanting to participate, please contact Ricardo Maestasat (505) 476-6000 or by e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for information on area hot spots andlocationswithfree WiFiaccess.









Laaudiencia públicavirtualcomenzaráellunes,17demayode2021alas12:00p.m.,MDT.

LaAudienciasellevaráacabodurantelassiguienteshoras,enestedíayenlosdíasposteriores,hastaquese complete,amenos que elfuncionario deaudienciasordenelo contrario:

DIARIAMENTEde12:00a 4:00p.m.yde6:00a9:00p.m.,MDT.


Laaudienciapúblicaproporcionaráalaspersonasinteresadasunaoportunidadrazonableparapresentar datos, opiniones y argumentos, así como para interrogar a los testigos. La audiencia tambiéndarálaoportunidadde presentarcomentariosatodaslaspersonas.


La audiencia pública se llevará a cabo de forma remota mediante una plataforma de videoconferenciapor Internet (Zoom) y por teléfono.Se puede acceder a la audiencia de Zoom a través del siguienteenlacede reunión:



Teléfonodeun solotoque:   US:+16699006833,,91728945523#,,,,*050223#o






IDdelareunión:        91728945523








IDdelareunión:        91728945523


Código de acceso:    050223



Cualquier persona que tenga una discapacidad y que requiera asistencia o un dispositivo auxiliar paraparticipar en este proceso debe comunicarse con Suzette Porter, coordinadora de NMED de la Ley deEstadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA), por teléfono al (505) 827-2109, o por correo electrónico en:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


HaynúmerosgratuitosdisponiblesparalosusuariosdeTDDoTDYparaaccederalaReddeRetransmisióndeNuevo Méxicoen1-800-659-1779(voz);usuariosdeTTY:1-800-659-8331.



Toda persona que necesite servicios de idiomas (por ejemplo, un intérprete durante una reunión oaudiencia pública, traducción de documentos) debe comunicarse con Ricardo Maestas al (505) 476-6000oporcorreoelectrónicoen:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tengaencuentaqueseproporcionaránserviciosdeinterpretaciónalespañolduranteesteprocedimiento.LaplataformaZoomproporcionaunaopciónparaescuchar,hacerpreguntasyproporcionarcomentariosenlaaudienciapúblicaenespañol.Acontinuación,encontrarálasinstrucciones paraescucharlainterpretaciónde idiomasenlaplataformaZoom:



  1. Enloscontrolesdesureunión/seminarioweb,hagaclicen“Interpretation”.
  2. Hagaclicenelidiomaque deseaescuchar.
  3. (Opcional)Paraescucharsóloelidiomainterpretado,hagaclicen“MuteOriginalAudio”.



  1. Enloscontrolesdesureunión,pulseeliconodepuntossuspensivos(...).
  2. PulseInterpretacióndeidiomas.
  3. (Opcional)PulseelinterruptorparaSilenciarelAudioOriginal.
  4. Haga clicen“Done”.







Si el acceso a Internet es un problema para cualquier persona que quiera participar, comuníquese conRicardo Maestas al (505) 476-6000 o por correo electrónico en: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.paraobtenerinformaciónsobrelospuntoscalientesdelazonayloslugaresconaccesogratuitoaWiFi




An ABQ Journal editorial (Nov. 28) describes the proposal to bring New Mexico the Space Command, Space Force project in glowing terms. There is no consideration of possible damage to public health and environmental consequences.  New Mexico’s politicians should not hand the military carte blanche trust for the startup of another project we know nothing about -- based alone on the promise of money and jobs.

The ABQ Journal editorial ignores the global threat from space conflicts and the record of environmental contamination and disease from military bases and two national laboratories.  While considering what New Mexico has to offer the Department of Defense, the Journal and politicians don’t consider what damage could come to New Mexico. Moreover, do New Mexicans want to be brought into the destructive aspects of military conflict in space like we were dragged into nuclear weapons development and tragic use?

The question is whether the Space Command project would be primarily administrative or would involve construction of missile and satellite technology and launches from New Mexico.  An Environmental Impact Statement should be first presented laying out potential adverse consequences of Space Command/Force plans for New Mexico. 

The Space Command/Force claims the right to dominance and assumes military conflict in space.  U.S. buildup of space weaponry and logistics accelerates the arms race and violates treaties for peaceful use of space. A violent conflict increasing the already enormous amount of space junk could irreparably damage modern communication systems. 

The setup of large aerospace corporations in New Mexico seeking a piece of the action could bring a lot of infrastructure challenges for our environment, housing, roads, schools, hospitals and scarce water supplies. The use of missile fuel may add to the perchlorate contamination of groundwater that is already wide spread at Air Force bases such as at Kirtland, Holloman, Cannon and White Sands.  Would there be production of space batteries using extremely toxic Plutonium 238?

The many spaceports around the country launching tens of thousands of mini-satellites for Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others will punch further holes in the ozone layer affecting atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere.

New Mexico is already damaged by failure to clean up radioactive and toxic laboratory and military waste.  Receiving more harmful impacts from Space Command/Force should be avoided.

The question remains -- is the public to be included in the decision to accept the project or are we to be bamboozled into believing this project will cause no harm but bring untold benefits?


Why are these military/industrial projects being proposed for New Mexico during the Coronavirus Pandemic:More nuclear weapons plutonium pit production? Storage of the entire nation’s nuclear reactor waste?  Doubling WIPP?  Space Command/Space Force?

The dropping of the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo with no warning to the public brought generational cancer and disease without compensation. 

Huge piles of uranium tailings and the 1100 ton Puerco River radioactive spill poisonsNative Americans, their children and animals. 

Kirtland AFB dumped an estimated 6 to24 million gallons of jet fuel and aviation gas into Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer.  A toxic carcinogen, Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) is present in the aquifer. 

Holloman AFB contaminated groundwater with a fire fighting chemical (PFAHs) at levels 18,000 times higher than federal safety limits.  The NM Department of Health recommends not drinking, swimming in or even touching the foam from water in Lake Holloman. 

Cannon AFB sued againstNM Environment Department permit conditions to protect dairies and drinking water from high PFAH contamination. 

Los Alamos National Laboratory:

  • Plans to produce more plutonium pits for nuclear weapons
  • spread radioactive wasteand hexavalent chromium into the aquifer;
  • has plans to release massive amounts of tritium into the neighboring tribal airspace;
  • fifteen lab workers were recently exposed to plutonium;

The WIPP salt mine for the military’s transuranic radioactive waste:

  • Had a $2,000,000,000shutdown from a fire and explosion
  • released contamination to the surface and overexposed workers.
  • The Department of Energy wants to double the size of WIPP despite promises to close in 2024.


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission wants to approve a plan for “interim”storage ofall the nation’s high level radioactive nuclear reactor waste at the Holtec site in southern New Mexico:

  • Leakage to the aquifer,
  • Interference with Permian Basin petroleum, potash and agricultural production.
  • Because no repackaging facility nordeep geologic repository exists the waste would never leave.


Sandia National Laboratories has yet to excavate and remove the radioactive waste, toxic chemicals and heavy metals in its Mixed Waste Landfill:

  • High level waste from the military, rocket fuel experiments and nuclear reactor meltdown experiments is mixed with metallic sodium that could potentially explode as happened at Beatty Nevada in 2015.
  • Carcinogenic solvents are leaking from the unlined dump to Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer.