by jeeg 10. January 2012 23:57

The Livermore, CA-based Tri-Valley CAREs filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court challenging the U.S. Dept. of Energy's (DOE) continued operation of a controversial bio-warfare agent facility at Livermore Lab without proper environmental review.


The bio-warfare agent research facility, a Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3), houses dangerous experiments with live anthrax, plague, Q fever and dozens of other potentially lethal pathogens. Some of these bio-agents will be aerosolized for use on small animals (up to 100 at a time) to ascertain how effective the agents would be in killing humans.


Further, the Livermore Lab BSL-3 is authorized to conduct experiments with genetically modified bio-agents of potentially novel (and unknown) virulence. Tri-Valley CAREs has been litigating to halt operations and obtain appropriate environmental review of the facility since 2003.


Tri-Valley CAREs' Staff Attorney, Scott Yundt will present the group's oral argument to the Ninth Circuit Court. He explains, "We are challenging this BSL-3 because the DOE failed to adequately analyze the catastrophic consequences it could have on Lab workers and the surrounding communities."


Yundt continued, "In Tri-Valley CAREs' initial lawsuit against the facility, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered DOE to go back to the drawing board to consider the impacts of a terrorist attack on human and environmental health, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.  As I will explain in oral argument to the Court, the DOE did not comply with the Court's prior Order - or the law."


Tri-Valley CAREs, in its written briefs and upcoming oral argument, is asking the Ninth Circuit Court to compel DOE to undertake an in-depth analysis in a full Environmental Impact Statement with public hearings.


The group will also request that the Ninth Circuit Court suspend operation of the BSL-3 until such time as it can demonstrate compliance with the law.


Tri Valley Cares- press release


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