The end’s not near, it’s here! The public comment period for the Emergency Planning Zone Petition for Rulemaking expires on July 16, 2012. That’s today! Nearly 2,000 of you already have commented in support of the petition, but we could use more! Please send in your comments in support of the petition today if you have not already done so.
In the wake of the disasters at Fukushima and Chernobyl we need to expand these inadequate and outdated emergency planning zones and strengthen emergency exercises now more than ever!
According to a report issued in July 2012 by The National Diet of Japan (Japan’s version of Congress), the Fukushima disaster was man-made and caused largely as a result of collusive efforts by the government, regulators and TEPCO to avoid developing and implementing basic safety requirements. Additionally, the report found several issues with the evacuation, specifically that confusion over evacuation was the direct result of failure to implement adequate measures to protect against nuclear accidents and poor planning by previous governments on crisis management.
The situation hasn't been much different in the U.S., where the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry have long colluded to resist necessary safety measures. But the NRC now has the opportunity to show that it has learned at least some of the lessons of Fukushima by adopting this petition.
Improving emergency planning rules is obviously not a substitute for closing nuclear reactors. We all would prefer that such rules not be needed at all--nuclear power should be ended and that's our goal. But that's not the world we live in right now: with 104 operating reactors in the U.S., it is essential that emergency evacuation rules reflect the real dangers each of these reactors presents.
Our petition calls for a three-tiered Emergency Planning Zone: the current 10-mile zone would expand to 25 miles, with all current requirements intact. A new zone from 25-50 miles would be established; utilities would be required to identify evacuation routes and annually notify residents of them. The Ingestion Pathway Zone, designed for interdiction of contaminated food, milk, and water, would be expanded from the current 50 miles to 100 miles. And a new rule would be established that would require emergency exercises to include scenarios of initiating or concurrent regionally-appropriate natural disasters.
We have prepared some sample comments for you to submit--you can do so here. However, we encourage you to edit these comments to reflect your own concerns, and to discuss emergency evacuation issues in your own communities. What happens if there is an earthquake in your area, or a hurricane? Has population growth in your area outstripped road networks? What about public transportation--how would people without cars be evacuated?
The original petition, along with sample resolutions for local officials and other background information, can be found on our Nuclear 911 website here.
Thanks for your support, thanks for all you do,
Nuclear Information and Resource Service firstname.lastname@example.org
July 9, 2012
Do you know how many natural gas wells are operating in your state or near the watershed that supplies your drinking water? You should.
Most of those wells rely on a process known as natural gas fracking that employs toxic chemicals to crack open shale beds and release methane gas. Both the chemicals used in fracking and the methane gas released pose a risk to local water supplies and the health of those who live nearby.
Our new report, The Right to Know, the Responsibility to Protect: State Actions Are Inadequate to Ensure Effective Disclosure of the Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Fracking, finds that public information about these chemicals is spotty and incomplete at best, and important safeguards are missing.
Because of a loophole written into the Energy Policy Act of 2005, natural gas fracking activities are exempt from federal oversight under the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result, oversight of fracking has shifted to the states, and officials have been struggling to find a way to protect water supplies and public health as natural gas drilling activity rapidly expands.
Released today, our analysis lays out what an effective chemical disclosure policy would look like, highlighting four key elements. We also assessed 13 established state disclosure policies (and four proposed policies), and we found that no state requires enough upfront collection of data and ongoing monitoring to adequately protect local water supplies and public health. Some states with significant fracking activity have no oversight rules on chemical disclosure.
Ultimately, Congress should reestablish effective oversight of fracking on the federal level under the Safe Drinking Water Act. In the meantime, we hope you will share this report with friends, colleagues, and government officials in your area and join us in encouraging state and local authorities to improve their chemical disclosure standards.
America has been blessed with an abundance of water. We can't sacrifice the sustainability of this critical resource in our search for new domestic energy supplies. Americans should not be forced to choose between clean water and affordable energy. We can have both.
The United States is on the path to end overfishing and rebuild depleted ocean fish populations, thanks to the law and regulations that were put in place with overwhelming support from people like you. These gains may be in jeopardy, however. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently decided to reevaluate its regulatory framework and wants the public to participate. Urge NOAA not to weaken the rules that protect U.S. ocean fish.
If NOAA’s fisheries service makes any changes to its rules, it should place greater emphasis on promoting long-term conservation and protecting ecosystems. Unfortunately, the agency is considering alternatives that would weaken current guidelines by creating new delays and exemptions that could allow overfishing. Please write now to ensure the future of fish and fishing in America’s oceans.
Director, U.S. Fisheries Campaigns
Pew Environment Group "Lee Crockett, Pew Environment Group" email@example.com