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Today Secure Nuclear Waste announced that it has formed a coalition to convene “the first truly public forum” to discuss plans to bury high-level nuclear waste on the beach at San Onofre State Park.
The group’s first forum and public hearing will take place near the proposed nuclear waste dump today, June 8, 6:00pm at Laguna Beach City Hall. A press conference will precede the forum at 5:15pm.
The new San Diego and Orange County coalition was prompted in part by Southern California Edison’s unimpeded success at getting a permit to bury high level nuclear waste near the beach at San Onofre State Park. The deadly radioactive waste is toxic to humans for millions of years. The permit was issued by the California Coastal Commission on October 6, 2015. If nothing is done, the waste could be buried on the beach as early as May, 2017, for up to 300 years.
“We are now on countdown, and blast off is less than a year away,” says San Diego attorney, and forum speaker, Maria Severson. Severson’s law firm, Aguirre & Severson LLP, is suing the Coastal Commission for issuing a permit that fails to meet the Commission’s own requirements. A Superior Court hearing on the legality of the permit is slated for October.
While the current Coastal Commission permit is “temporary,” Federal rules define “temporary” as lasting up to 300 years. Critics of the permit claim it was issued in violation of the law, and that public participation in the process has been thwarted by Southern California Edison’s lobbyists, and political appointees.
The San Diego and Orange County Coalition consists of prominent non-profits, consumer advocates, transportation and logistics professionals, healthcare workers, fraud investigators, real estate experts, environmentalists, politicians, and citizens. It is dedicated to providing common sense medical, safety, and financial information about nuclear waste and to seeking alternative solutions to beachfront burial.
“Slippery attorneys and highly paid lobbyists”
According to Charles Langley, executive director of the San Diego nonprofit Public Watchdogs, “This is the first truly public forum and discussion of nuclear waste where the public will be allowed to speak without Edison’s slippery attorneys and highly paid lobbyists controlling the content.”
The Coalition was formed in response to an ineffective public relations effort by Southern California Edison, the developer of the San Onofre nuclear waste dump, to create the illusion of public dialogue through its ratepayer funded “Community Engagement Panel or “CEP.” The “panel” consists of hand-picked Southern California Edison Executives, appointed politicians, unions, and alleged nuclear activists; most of whom are in favor of constructing the new beachfront waste dump.
Attendees to Edison’s Community Engagement Panel were quickly disillusioned when they learned that they were not allowed to speak. Ultimately, the panel allowed the public to comment and ask questions, but only in a controlled environment where speakers were often silenced by the Chair of the CEP, Dr. David Victor.
“This is the real Community Engagement Panel”
According to Conn, “This is the real Community Engagement Panel. It is a venue where the public can address the hazards of nuclear waste without interruption or censorship.”
The non-partisan coalition is working to revoke the permit on safety and procedural grounds. The San Diego law firm of Aguirre & Severson LLP has mounted a legal attack on the Coastal Commission in Superior Court, but ultimately, the decision on what to do with the waste may be in the hands of the voters and concerned citizens.
“Our goal is to educate the voters about the dangers of nuclear waste and especially about the dangers of allowing the waste to be managed by a Southern California Edison.” says Langley. “We believe that if local communities and voters stand together, we can defeat Southern California Edison’s plans to store the waste on the beach for the next 300 years.”
“It is an outrage that taxpayers are funding appointed bureaucrats” — Nina Babiarz, Transportation Professional
One of the primary concerns of the Coalition is that Southern California Edison has launched a comprehensive public relations program to suppress citizen dissent with the cooperation of political appointees and taxpayer funded bureaucrats.
“It is an outrage that taxpayers are funding politically appointed bureaucrats at state agencies to create a deadly toxic waste landfill next to an interstate highway and the LOSSAN Coastal Rail Corridor” says coalition member, and transportation professional Nina Babiarz. “Our two counties have united to fight this threat to public safety. We must put the ‘Public’ back into the Public Utility Commission, and the ‘Community’ back into the CEP.”
Charles Langley, executive director of Public Watchdogs
Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org