MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations

Government for the People?

"We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. "

Those goals of the Constitution have never been fully realized by the people and their federal, state, local, or tribal governments over the past 213 years. In the daily struggles for justice and to promote the general welfare -- including promoting public health and protecting the environment -- all too frequently governments promote the welfare of corporations and the rich, not the general welfare of the public.

Some current examples of important struggles are highlighted in the following pages. Congress and the President have decided to proceed with the world's first underground high-level nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. While tens of thousands of people asked their senators to vote NO of the dump, three-fifths of the Senate voted YES on July 9. The views of fifteen senators on both sides of the vote are provided in the centerfold.

A more positive example of government responding to people's concerns is the policy announced on May 22 by the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation. Responding to staunch opposition from thousands of people, the Navajo's top elected officials said that they join in opposing new in-situ uranium mines. How Hydro Resources, Inc., the company planning the mines, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal government agency that licensed the mining, respond to the people's concerns, now backed by the tribal government, is an important test for corporate accountability and the federal government's responsiveness.

The New Mexico state government is the focus of people's attention regarding decisions about one of the nation's largest mines, the nation's first underground nuclear waste dump, and a new medical waste autoclave in the middle of Albuquerque. Thousands of people have been concerned about health and environmental impacts of the first two sites for decades. The lack of corporate and government responsiveness resulted in contaminated water and the need for a $130 million reclamation bond at Molycorp' mine in northern New Mexico. Taxpayers nationwide are paying for WIPP and hundreds of billions of dollars to address nuclear and toxic waste problems at nuclear weapons facilities. Many more decisions about those two facilities in upcoming days will test state government responsiveness.

People in the Wells Park neighborhood of Albuquerque have a new fight to protect their health and welfare from threats by Stericycle, the nation's largest medical waste handling firm. How the New Mexico Environment Department responds to overwhelming opposition to the permit modification remains to be seen.

And in southern New Mexico, thousands of people are concerned about oil and gas industry plans to drill in Otero Mesa, public land that "represents the Wild West at its finest." One federal agency, the Bureau of Land Management appears poised to allow that "development."

We invite you to learn more about these struggles and to get involved!



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Southwest Research and Information Center
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PO Box 4524
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