Proposed Bio-weapons Lab, for Roxbury and the east coast; and Proposals for new Nuclear Risks For all of New England, in Vernon, VT.

November 20th


Proposed Bio-weapons Lab,
For Roxbury and the east coast;
and Proposals for new Nuclear Risks
For all of New England, in Vernon, VT.


Communication for EAST-WEST Solidarity,
(and the fullness of witness with unconditional regard)


Dear Friends,

I think of one verse of We shall Overcome — “We are not afraid …”

Though the threats are very real and serious, faith in the fullness of our potential, and the power of joining together, adds to my hope that both these affronts will be met and overcome by wise people undertaking concerted action. If we don’t collaborate, I think local efforts will not be enough to prevent disaster in either location.

On Monday, Nov. 7, I was arrested (along with 6 other women) at the Entergy Nuclear headquarters in Brattleboro, VT for approaching their offices with my letter requesting funds for radiation monitors for all schools in a 50-mile radius of the reactor. The Vernon reactor has been plagued these past years by several incidents including failing a security test, a fire in the transformer, lost fuel rods, a sudden drop in cooling water, heavy rains that probably put several contaminants into the Connecticut River, etc.

Solidarity between our metropolitan/inner city neighbors threatened by the Bio weapons lab, and our vale/hill-town neighbors (suffering a 26% increase in breast cancer mortality rates over a thirty year period in Franklin county), requires that together we put our faiths into action.

Please respond to this appeal for with your thoughts on next steps to prevent the bio terror lab from being built in Roxbury; and in the west preventing an uprate in risks at the Vernon nuclear reactor— oldest in New England.

I ask for your consideration of how faith communities can help us address the challenges we face.

For example, two hours west of Boston there will be an important conference at the Greenfield Community College on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1-6:30 PM, beginning with a keynote speaker on radiation health effects, Ernest Sternglass at 1PM. Ernest is brilliant, full of energy, and 82. He once had a 5-hour conversation with Einstein. Please consider whether your faith based group can co-sponsor the conference. ($25) I met with a religious education committee in Greenfield today and it looks like they will co-sponsor.

Workshops will include radiation monitoring (recommended for schools and healthcare facilities); evacuation planning; uprate & reactor safety concerns; healing, recovery, and the power of nonviolence! Your groups sponsorship will mean a great deal as we reach out to neighbors. Please discuss which of your members will be able to attend.

Beverages provided. Wheelchair accessible. Music to uplift us!

Can east and west converge at one another’s conferences, or help with advance press work on events that will precede important conferences or meetings. Has the Boston media even touched on our troubles?? They would report on a melt-down. How can we get them to report on preventing one??

Likewise western Mass media has rarely addressed the Bio-Weapons Lab, yet we often visit Boston and could be affected. What will help our media see and address these linked issues. Both are the results of hubris, and a supremacist attitude that says we need the best (worst) weapons and the hottest reactors, while threats are made against Iran and Korea for even thinking of building reactors.

Sunny Miller, 413 773-7427
in a Neighbors’ Network to End War

—— Forwarded Message
From: Vicky Steinitz
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 23:26:50 -0500
To: UJP Steering , community ed
Subject: [UJPSteering] Grim Update on Biolab Bill

Hi everyone,

After months of stonewalling, the Environment Committee has drafted a revised version of Gloria Fox’s bill which seeks to regulate and monitor BSL 3 & 4 labs. To call the draft a revision is really a misnomer. The draft completely recasts the legislation and guts every major provision of the original bill. It takes out the moratorium on construction until regs are in place, provides no enforcement mechanisms, no penalties if labs don’t follow guidelines, removes the Community Oversight Boards, gives BU a free pass by exempting any BSL4 facility that has been sited before the effective date of the regs from the siting requirements, etc. This draft is completely unacceptable.

To make matters worse, the Co-Chairs, Rep. Frank Smizik and Sen. Pam Resor were both co-sponsors of the original legislation as well as well known progressives. Despite repeated offers to meet with them to answer questions about the original bill, etc., the Co-Chairs met only once with Rep. Fox and Gene Benson, at which meeting they gave no indication of serious concerns about the bill and no warning of what was to come.

Raising the suspicions of those of us with conspiratorial leanings, the confidential draft (which I don’t believe has yet been officially released although it has been sent to many, including the BU lobbyist, by the committee staff) was circulated three days before the end of the legislative session and the day before the Boston Public Health Commission released its own proposed new regulations. It’s interesting that the city now proposes stronger regs than the committee draft version but the BPHC regs are still much weaker than the original Fox bill. In my view, it’s pretty apparent that Menino, DiMasi and BU have cooked this all up together to insure smooth sailing for the BU lab and Smizik has followed his marching orders.

A small victory: Mike Cohen submitted an Article to Brookline Town Meeting endorsing the original Fox bill. This article was passed by the Board of Selectmen on a 3-2 vote, by the Advisory Committee to Town Meeting on a 16-5 vote, and then by Town Meeting overwhelmingly Thursday night. While Town Meeting members were informed about the gutted draft, we kept the emphasis on passing the motion endorsing the original bill.

Where do we go from here? The Legislative Committee of the Stop the Bioterror Lab Coalition has asked our Brookline members to mobilize Brookline Peaceworks members and other progressives in Brookline to let Smizik know that we are furious at his complicity in this travesty. In the next days, we will be letting all the legislative co-sponsors know what has happened as well as getting back in touch with all those who testified at the hearing on the bill last spring. There will be a Stop the Bioterrorism Lab Coalition strategy meeting next Tuesday to figure out next steps.

I wanted to let the many people in UJP who have worked on the bill know where things stand. I’ll be back in touch once we’ve figured out how best to keep fighting the BU BSL4 lab

Vicky Steinitz