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It looks like the issue of the $5.8 billion Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility will be spending more time in the court room.
The Los Alamos Study Group has filed a second lawsuit against the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration and the Los Alamos National Laboratory Friday morning,
The Study Group, under Greg Mello, filed the suit under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) “seeking accurate, up-to-date analyses of the feasibility and impacts of alternatives to a proposed $6 billion plutonium building at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).”
Spokesperson Toni Chiri said the NNSA has not seen the suit yet and does not comment on pending litigation.
The NNSA issued a Record of Decision a week ago that contained the formal orders needed to begin taking bids on the final design and construction of the project.
Critics have been fighting the proposal for as long as it has been on the table, arguing it is an unnecessary and outrageously priced bomb factory.
Lab officials insist nuclear weapons will neither be made nor stored there. They say CMRR’s mission is to analyze and understand nuclear elements.
The 52-page complaint was filed in U.S. District Court of New Mexico. The suit outlines several claims for relief including:
• Failure to analyze alternatives in an EIS
• Failure to include current information about “purpose and need”
• Failure to include “No Action” alternative
• Predetermination of outcome of NEPA analyses
• Failure to issue a Record of Decision
• Failure to select from among alternatives analyzed in EIS
• Failure to integrate NEPA analyses with decision making
• Interim actions prejudicial to NEPA process
• Denial of review and comment opportunities
• Failure to discuss impacts of connected actions
• The 2011 SEIS relies upon an analysis and a decision that has been rejected
In August 2010, the Study Group filed a lawsuit in the New Mexico federal district court seeking a fresh environmental review of the CMRR project. In response, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) promised to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and to hold back initial construction until the SEIS was completed.
Judge Judith Herrera dismissed the case in May.
Herrera suggested the Study Group file a second lawsuit after the SEIS process was completed, should a controversy remain. Mello said that Friday’s filing was that lawsuit.
The Study Group is also pursuing review of Herrera’s decision in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
“Despite spending millions on what turns out to be 14 pounds of after-the-fact NEPA paperwork, NNSA still has not analyzed the impacts of even one reasonable alternative,” Mello said. “For NNSA, it’s their way or the highway. Yet analysis of the environmental impacts of reasonable alternatives to a project is the very heart of NEPA.
“NEPA’s integrative perspective has never been more important, given the converging crises we face in our environment, economy, and society. We desperately need infrastructure projects that help us save the environment, not destroy it.”
Associated Press contributed to this story.