grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

 

Depleted Uranium Munitions Action Plan

 

Updated July 30, 2004 by Glen Milner (download complete action plan - pdf file)


See Hudson, NY newspaper story below

See sample letters to Dept. of Transportation

Depleted Uranium Munitions Action Plan  
 
Department of Transportation Docket Management System statements are posted regarding DOT-E 9649.  If you have sent a statement to the DOT regarding this exemption, please see if your statement has been properly entered in the public record.  Many statements have not been posted.
 
This information can be accessed by going to http://dms.dot.gov   At the bottom and left side of the page, go to Simple Search.  Then enter 18576 for the Docket Number. This should bring up three pages listing 133 entries on DOT-E 9649.
 
If your statement is not listed, you may send your statement again.  In addition, the renewal process is still open.  You may send additional statements.  It appears the DOT has not yet addressed our concerns of burning depleted uranium in the case of an accident involving depleted uranium munitions.  The Department of Defense has submitted statements indicating depleted uranium munitions are less radioactive than previously believed.
 
Please look at this public website, and resubmit your statement if it is not posted.  Please address technical and scientific issues involved in depleted uranium munitions shipments if you are able to do so.
 
I have submitted five different statements to the DOT on DOT-E 9649.  Only one is posted, a request for public hearings.  I will resubmit the four other statements and a new one.
 
DOT-E 9649 has not been renewed.  Letters may still be sent to the Department of Transportation.
 
The Depleted Uranium Munitions Action Plan is an attempt by activists across the United States to prevent the renewal of a special U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) exemption, DOT-E 9649, which allows the shipment of depleted uranium munitions without a DOT “Radioactive” placard displayed on the shipment.
 
The expiration date for the exemption was June 30, 2004.  The complete action plan is posted at http://www.grassrootspeace.org/du_mun_action_plan.pdf  or contactinfo@gzcenter.org for a copy.
 
Organizations sponsoring the Depleted Uranium Munitions Action Plan: Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Poulsbo, Washington  : www.gzcenter.org E-mail: info@gzcenter.org;Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, Massachusetts : www.grassrootspeace.org  E-mail: traprock@crocker.com; Military Toxics Project, Lewiston, Maine www.miltoxproj.org  Email: mtp@miltoxproj.org; Nukewatch, Luck, Wisconsin www.nukewatch.com  E-mail: nukewatch@lakeland.ws


 

July 20 update:

 

I spoke with Mr. Delmer Billings of the Department of Transportation today on July 20, 2004.  He stated they were having problems transferring information they scanned onto the DOT docket management system.  He thought they would have to scan all documents again.
 
Delmer Billings said of the Department of Defense that “the ball is in their court.”  He said that things will remain unchanged for at least another two weeks.  We have this time, and possibly more time, to submit new information regarding DOT-E 9649.
 
Delmer Billings is also processing a Freedom of Information Act request I have submitted regarding this issue.
 
Delmer Billings, and others in the Exemptions and Approvals office of the DOT, seem to be conscientious about their jobs.  They appear to be understaffed and overworked, but serious about public safety.
 

The following concerns previous discussions:

 

The following is updated information based on discussions with Mr. Delmer Billings of the Department of Transportation on May 3, 2004 and July 9, 2004 and a letter from the U.S. Army to Congressman Jay Inslee dated July 6, 2004:

 

DOT-E 9649 has not been renewed.  Mr. Delmer Billings of the DOT stated on July 9, 2004 that his agency is waiting for further information regarding the shipment of depleted uranium munitions.  The U.S. Army Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC, formerly MTMC), which manages the shipment of depleted uranium munitions, has been granted a time extension in order to provide information requested by the DOT.

 

Congressman Jay Inslee (north Seattle area) received a letter dated July 6, 2004 from Major General Ann Dunwoody, of the U.S. Army, SDDC, that stated, "...the Department of Defense shipped depleted uranium munitions in the United States and overseas in both 2003 and 2004.  DOD used DOT-E 9649 for those shipments."  This statement directly contradicted a statement by Major Mark Wyrosdick, of the U.S. Army, SDDC, in the March 2, 2004 renewal application for DOT-E 9649, which said, "There were no shipments made by DOD using this exemption..."

 

Congressman Inslee also received a statement from the DOT dated July 6, 2004 which said the DOT is still reviewing the exemption.

 

Mr. Delmer Billings, Director of the Office of Hazardous Materials of the Department of Transportation (DOT), stated on May 3, 2004 he thought he had received approximately 50 to 75 statements against the exemption renewal through e-mail and the postal service.  It is likely activists have sent well over 100 letters or e-mail messages to Delmer Billings against the renewal of this exemption.

 

Mr. Billings stated on July 9, 2004 that the DOT would soon be placing all letters, messages and documents regarding the renewal of DOT-E 9649 on the DOT docket management system which will be available for viewing online at http://dms.dot.gov.  Mr. Delmer said the docket number should be available around July 16, 2004.

 

Statements by activists may still be made to the Department of Transportation regarding DOT-E 9649.  Mr. Billings stated on July 9, 2004 that he did not know why U.S. Army officers of the same military command, managing depleted uranium shipments, would give contradicting statements about whether the exemption is used.  Mr. Billing also stated he could not deny the application for renewal until the Department of Defense is given the chance to respond to opposing allegations.

 

A related statement from 1998:  A letter from the Chief of the Transportation Operations Team, E. M. Jones, of the Department of the Army dated December 3, 1998, to the Commander of the Military Traffic Management Command stated that DOT-E 9649, at that time, needed to be renewed.    The letter stated the current exemption expired on December 31, 1998.  The letter stated, "The requirements for military shipments of munitions containing components made of depleted uranium has not changed."  The Chief of the Transportation Operations Team further stated, "Historically, we have shipped millions of tons of this type of ammunition without incident under this exemption since this exemption was first approved." (emphasis added--note that just 2 million tons over the 12 year period since DOT-E 9649 had been approved would average 166,000 tons of depleted uranium munitions shipped under this exemption each year.)  

 

I apologize for the delay in reporting on this issue.  Congressman Inslee had been trying since May 20, 2004 to obtain the statement from the U.S. Army that the exemption is used by the military.  I will post the docket number for DOT-E 9649 when it is available.  I can be contacted at gkaajm@juno.com or at (206) 365-7865.  Glen Milner


 

The following is from the original Depleted Uranium Munitions Action Plan:

 

What to do:

 

Contact the Department of Transportation Exemptions division and ask that the DOT immediately terminate and not renew DOT-E 9649.  Depleted uranium munitions should have a "Radioactive" placard and an "Explosives" placard on shipments.  Depleted uranium is an extremely toxic material and much more dangerous when shipped with an explosive propellant as in the case of DU munitions.  In case of a fire, first responders (local police and fire fighters) would have no idea the shipment contained radioactive material.  The public has a right to know about hazardous shipments through their communities.

 

Send correspondence regarding DOT-E 9649 to:  Mr. Delmer Billings  DHM-31

Director, Office of Hazardous Materials, Exemptions and Approvals

Department of Transportation 400 7th St. SW, Washington, D.C.   20590

Fax:  (202) 366-3308 E-mail:  delmer.billings@rspa.dot.gov

 

Please also (if you want) send a copy to info@gzcenter.org Please share this information with others and local officials.

 

Organizations sponsoring the Depleted Uranium Munitions Action Plan: 

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Poulsbo, Washington  : www.gzcenter.org  E-mail: info@gzcenter.org;Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, Massachusetts : www.grassrootspeace.org  E-mail: traprock@crocker.com; Military Toxics Project, Lewiston, Maine www.miltoxproj.org  Email: mtp@miltoxproj.org; Nukewatch, Luck, Wisconsin www.nukewatch.com  E-mail: nukewatch@lakeland.ws


http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=12402488&BRD=248&PAG=461&dept_id=462341&rfi=6


Nuke ammo transport worries county


By: JACK MABB
The Independent
07/20/2004

HUDSON-At any given time radioactive material in the form of depleted uranium from nuclear power plants and munitions may be traveling the rails and roadways of America.

       And while local officials understand the need for security surrounding these shipments, a growing number of them also say the safety of local first responders, responding to a train or truck accident involving these shipments, must be considered.
       Last week, Columbia County supervisors voiced their concerns on the subject following a request from the Ulster County Legislature.
       "We need to protect our first responders at all cost. It isn't fair that they have no clue what they are dealing with," says Susan Zimet, a member of the Ulster County Legislature. She sponsored a resolution in her county that calls on the federal Department of Transportation not to renew DOT-E9649, a regulation that allows the Military Management Command to transport explosives and radioactive material with only an "explosive" placard affixed to the container. In the event of an accident that released the material, first responders coming to the scene would have no knowledge of the potential radioactive danger.
       The regulation expired June 30 of this year. And Ms. Zimet says the DOT has listened to those opposed to continuation of the regulation and has not yet
       renewed it. In May, the Ulster County Legislature unanimously approved the resolution calling for the DOT to require identification of radioactive cargoes. The Columbia County Board of Supervisors adopted a similar resolution at its meeting last week.
       While Columbia County seems far removed from weapons production and nuclear power plants, the threads that link this county with other vulnerable communities are the two CSX rail lines that pass through eight towns here.
       Ms. Zimet says Ulster's emergency management director tried to find out the routes and times the material is shipped but ran into a brick wall of silence.
       She says federal officials were "not forthcoming on information of the route or manner the material was transported over." Ms. Zimet says at one point some radioactive material was produced in the Albany suburb of Colonie, which leads here to believe "that material passed though our counties at some time."
       Opponents of the regulation describe DU as "extremely toxic material," with the danger increased when it is shipped as part of munitions. One group, Nukewatch, in Luck, Wis., says an accident with these weapons could have the effect of igniting what the federal government has described as "dirty bomb," a device the government has said terrorist organizations might try to build and detonate.
       County Fire Coordinator James Van Deusen says it is a good idea to mark the containers to give first responders a fighting chance. "If they get there and then discover what it is I think they will be out of luck," he says. He adds that while firefighters are taught to check the scene for their own safety first, the drive to help may overwhelm that learned prudence.
       "Know what you're getting into-we teach it all the time. But in the heat of a call sometimes it's how fast can you get there," he says.
       While train transport is relatively safe, the Department of Transportation reports that there are 2,000 derailments and 7,300 train accidents annually.
       The Military Management Command has said that because of the risk of terrorism, a cask ruptured on purpose is essentially a dirty bomb, and the government needs to keep security on the shipments tight. Ms. Zimet understands the argument, but she wonders why in lieu of a placard on the cars or trailer identifying radioactive materials local emergency management offices couldn't be notified of nuclear materials transportation routes and times.
       "I believe that they believe they need to keep this a secret, but that doesn't mean we stop worrying about our first responders," she says.
       Mr. Van Deusen agrees that prior notification could work well as long as that notice is well ahead of the transport.

©The Independent 2004

Thanks, Sheree, for bringing this article to our attention.