Action Alert: Protect Vulnerable NM Communities — Halt Planned Tritium Release at LANL

On March 11, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) sent the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a formal notice that the Lab will intentionally release up to some 100,000 curies of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen gas, beginning April 17, 2020.

This massive radioactive venting is due to take place as northern New Mexico begins to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, and places a further burden on some of our most vulnerable and at-risk communities. At the same time DOE is ramping up nuclear weapons production and plans to cut cleanup at LANL nearly in half.

We are asking for your help to call on our Congressional delegation, the EPA, and New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) directors to put an immediate halt and suspension to these planned tritium releases and increase in LANL plutonium pit production.


  1. Please sign and share the petition we have created at by April 4, 2020. Our goal is to get at least 2,500 signatures.
  2. Print and sign the letter below and mail it to Mr. Kevin Pierard, NMED (address in letter).
  3. Contact the following elected representatives to express your objection to LANL’s plan: 

    + Senator Tom Udall: (202) 224-6621, contact by email
    + Senator Martin Heinrich: (202) 224-5521, contact by email
    + Representative Debra Haaland: (202) 225-6316, contact by email
    + Representative Ben Lujan: (202) 225-6190, contact by email
    + Representative Xochitl Torres Small:  (202) 225-2365, contact by email

Suggested message: “I am calling to ask [name of representative] to put an immediate halt and suspension to the planned April tritium releases and increase in plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory. There must be an informed public process that prioritizes protecting those most vulnerable.”


March 27, 2020

To: Mr. Kevin Pierard, Chief
Hazardous Waste Bureau
New Mexico Environment Department
2905 Rodeo Park Drive East, Building 1
Santa Fe, NM 87505

As friends and allies of Pueblo and land-based Peoples who live downwind and downstream from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), we are extremely concerned about the lab’s intentions to go forward with releasing radioactive tritium vapor in April 2020 — particularly at this time when these communities are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Now in addition to the disconnect that people are experiencing from social distancing, LANL is inflicting mental harm as families worry about the safety of their loved ones spending time outside.

We call on all of our Congressional delegation, EPA and NMED directors to put an immediate halt and suspension to these planned tritium releases and increase in LANL plutonium pit production for the following reasons: 

There should not be a rush to put our communities in harm’s way when all solutions have not even been discussed. Federal standards for tritium exposure, based on an obsolete model of an adult, white male of European descent, are not protective of land-based people of color, or pregnant families and infants who are more at risk of radioactive toxicity. 

We demand an informed public process that prioritizes protecting those most vulnerable. Pueblo and other communities in proximity to LANL (including the city of Española) have been placed in an extremely vulnerable position with COVID-19. With all the unknowns we are currently facing related to COVID-19, we demand a reprieve and halting of the release of radioactive tritium. Our communities deserve to be given every opportunity to have clean air and water, and health and wellness in these challenging times. To go forward with this proposal is a reckless endangerment of people who are already dealing with so many environmental and health challenges.