Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] B-52s, Indigo Girls and Midnight Oil to Illinois Senators: Reject Dangerous Plan for Cross-country Nuclear Shipments

Preeti Prasad pprasad@citizen.org
Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:24:20 -0400

Band Members Hold Press Conference with Environmental and Public Interest Leaders as Yucca Mountain Vote Nears

CHICAGO, ILL. - Musicians from the popular bands Indigo Girls, Midnight Oil, and B-52s joined a broad-based coalition of environmental and public interest organizations urging U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) to vote against the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.  The groups held a press conference at the Allegro Hotel in downtown Chicago.

"Mass transport of large amounts of highly dangerous radioactive waste through Illinois is a very dumb idea, dangerous for people and their environment," said Peter Garrett, longtime environmental activist and lead singer of the Australian band Midnight Oil. "We oppose it in Australia and we oppose it here. Our fans and the Chicago public deserve a lot better than this harebrained recipe for hell."

The U.S. Department of Energy projects that 38,549 truck shipments or 7,027 giant train shipments of nuclear waste would travel through Illinois en route to Yucca Mountain.  Some shipments would also be floated by barge on Lake Michigan.  An accident or attack involving just one of these shipments could be catastrophic.

"Deadly nuclear waste shipments do not belong on the Great Lakes or the roadways that carry our children to school," said Kate Pierson, lead singer with the B-52s.  "If either Senator Durbin or Fitzgerald votes in support of this nuclear dump, he will do so with a guilty conscience."

The commercial nuclear industry has launched an expensive advertising campaign in support of the proposed dump and is lobbying Illinois Senators to vote "yes." The Senate is expected to take up the issue early next week.  Sen. Fitzgerald has already indicated his support for the project, while Sen. Durbin remains undecided.  According to Public Citizen research, Fitzgerald received $52,038 from the nuclear industry over the past three election cycles through Feb. 28, 2002; Durbin received $25,000.

"Senators Durbin and Fitzerald should not let the well-financed nuclear industry decide this important issue for them," said Dave Kraft, executive director of the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service.  "The only responsible vote on Yucca Mountain is "no" - to protect the health and wellbeing of communities along proposed nuclear waste transportation routes in Illinois."

Local opponents of the Yucca Mountain Project gathered on the sidewalk waving signs opposing nuclear waste transportation through the city.

Speakers at the press conference also raised concern about the Yucca Mountain site itself.  The area is seismically active and sits atop an aquifer that nearby residents rely on for drinking water.  Yucca Mountain is a sacred site to the Western Shoshone Nation.

A staff member from the office of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowski (D-Ill.) also participated in the press conference.  Rep. Schakowski voted against Yucca Mountain in the House earlier this spring.  Other speakers at today's event included representatives of Illinois Citizen Action, Illinois Public Interest Research Group, League of Women Voters of Illinois, Physicians for Social Responsibility - Chicago, Sierra Club, and Honor the Earth.  Indigo Girls and Midnight Oil are headline bands for the 4th of July celebrations at Taste of Chicago.   B-52s are playing July at Ravinia Park later today.


Find out how close you live to a nuclear waste transport route at www.mapscience.org

Sign the petition to oppose the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste dump at www.yuccapetition.org

Send a fax for free at www.nuclearneighborhoods.org

Learn more about the deadly waste dump at www.atomicroadshow.org

Preeti Prasad
Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy & Environment Program
215 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC  20003
ph. 202-454-5175
FAX 202-547-7392