Yucca Mountain News

Yucca Mountain Whistleblower correction
Kristi Hodges
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

To Whom It May Concern:

I have a correction to make to my letter that was posted on the NWPO website on December 18, 2002.   I had stated that a San Francisco attorney had appealed the DOL's dismissal of the DOE portion of the Mattimoe vs. US Department of Energy and Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. complaint.

While it is true that the DOE dismissal was appealed, it has been confirmed that that portion has since been dropped and the DOE is no longer a party of that legal action.  The law is still the law even when it is a bad law; and a 1995 legal interpretation by a DOL Administrative Law Judge will stand until it is overturned.  The Energy Reorganization Act (ERA), itself, must be amended before nuclear workers will have any recourse against wrongdoing on the part of the DOE.

Based on the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity the government cannot be sued without its consent.  This assumed immunity has been misapplied to allow federal agencies and federal employees to avoid accountability when involved in "extraordinarily egregious" activities.

It is therefore left to our senators and representatives to introduce legislation and/or revision to legislation that specify that federal agencies, and specifically the DOE, are subject to Section 211 of the ERA. Sovereign immunity has already been waved in most environmental statutes; such provisions should be waved in the ERA as well.

I apologize for providing inaccurate information on the status of the complaint; however, I urge the State to explore this issue further and to determine whether there is a contribution that can be made in advancing changes to existing laws that will provide nuclear workers with increased protections.  Thank you.

Kristi Hodges