Carol B. Thompson
Ruth Annette Mills
March 12, 1998
Mr. Frank DiSanza
Nevada Operations Office ETD
P.O. Box 98518
Las Vegas, NV 89193-8518
Dear Mr. DiSanza:
The Nevada League of Women Voters has learned that the Department of Energy/ Nevada (DOE) is in the process of preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for an Intermodal Transportation and Routing facility to accommodate rail to truck transportation of low-level radioactive waste coming to the Nevada Test Site (NTS). As part of this effort, DOE has drafted a Public Involvement Sub-Group Charter. By virtue of its language this draft charter appears to specifically exclude any meaningful public participation.
As you may know, the primary mission of the League of Women Voters of Nevada is to assist and encourage full public participation at all levels of government. Both the National League and our state organizations have earned the respect and confidence of the general public by creating avenues for citizens to gain information on issues, the working of government and candidates for elected office. With this background, we have many concerns about the development of this EA.
At the very least the selection of members to the Sub Group appears arbitrary and without sincere effort to include members of the general public or representatives of citizens that will be affected by the transport of nuclear wastes. Furthermore the fact that no public meetings will be scheduled with the exception of briefings and presentations to groups, is unacceptable to a true public process. The public would be better served if you were to combine a public hearing process with these schedule briefings. Not every citizen belongs to a ‘group' and holding specialized meetings will only alienate or intimidate citizens. Without a public hearing process there is little guarantee that citizens' concerns will be considered, there is no matter of record for the meeting, and no need for official response. It also appears that the boundaries of the draft charter undermine the ability of the selected members of the sub-group or members of affected communities, to influence the process.
As a result of these exclusions we believe the draft charter also contradicts the principles and objectives of the National Environmental Policy Act.
Should DOE determine that the draft charter and the process that is presented in it are insufficient to obtain true public involvement, the League would be willing to assist by facilitating public meetings regarding the scoping and preparation of this important EA.
We look forward to your early response on this matter of concern to all Nevadans.
Celia L. Hildebrand
Senator Richard Bryan
Senator Harry Reid
Representative Jim Gibbons
Representative John Ensign
P.O. Box 1194, Carson City, NV 89702 Phone/Fax (702)883-6931