Obama budget shortchanges cleanup

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Feb 15, 2011 No Comments ›› ralph

February 14, 2011 * immediate release

OAK RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL PEACE ALLIANCE REACTS
TO OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S FY2012 BUDGET

President Barack Obama released his FY2012 budget request, and efforts to clean up historic contamination in Oak Ridge took a $153 million hit, while funding for nuclear weapons production will continue to increase.

Overall spending on nuclear weapons production will increase nearly 8% in the administration’s budget request, while the Environmental Management budget (excluding uranium Decontamination and Decommissioning) spending in Oak Ridge receives a 46% cut over the FY 2010 numbers.

“This year’s budget continues a long-time pattern in Oak Ridge, where concern for public safety and the environment take a back seat to nuclear weapons production,” said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. “This practice is not good for the community, the environment, or the country.”

“It is irresponsible to propose massive increases in funding for weapons production at a time when the demand is diminishing,” said Hutchison. “Fortunately, the budget request is just the beginning of a conversation, and there is still time for common sense and fiscal restraint to be applied. It will be important for everyone in the Oak Ridge community to make clear what the community’s priorities are.”

Noting that a portion of the budget request would be dedicated to construction of the Uranium Processing Facility, a weapons manufacturing facility which has seen its pricetag spiral wildly out of control, increasing by 1000% over five years even as the projected size of the facility has decreased, Hutchison said, “OREPA believes the most responsible thing to do—both financially and in keeping with our policy on nuclear nonproliferation—is to downsize-and-upgrade-in-place, using existing facilities at Y12 to meet production mission requirements as we move to the eventual phase our of nuclear weapons production activities altogether. Since DOE says it can modernize existing facilities for less than 10% of the cost of a new UPF and we’ll preserve more jobs at the same time, it makes sense for Oak Ridge and the nation to modernize-in-place.”

Here are early numbers from the budget release:

Defense Env. Cleanup – $5.4 billion (down $958 million from FY 2010, though the actual cut is $495 million if Uranium D&D is excluded).

Hanford – $2.275 billion (down $50 million from FY 2010), Vit plant gets $152 million increase
INL – $127 million (Down $127 million from FY 2010)
NNSA sites – $423 million (up $110 million from FY 2010)
Oak Ridge – $176 million (down $153 million from FY 2010) – doesn’t include uranium D&D
SRS – $1.222 billion (down $243 million from FY 2010)
WIPP – $230 million (down $6 million from FY 2010)

for more information
Ralph Hutchison
865 776 5050

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