We the People Do Not Consent
by Randy Martin
In his latest work, Noel Marquez brought children, community artists and environmental activists together under the banner of, “We the People do Not Consent to the Dumping of High Level Radioactive Waste in our Communities.” Marquez’s latest mural speaks to the environmental injustice in Southwest New Mexico with paint and canvas. His community-centered piece tells the story of the Radioactive Dragon to be unleashed anew on the backs of the nation’s most vulnerable and voiceless.
The Doe is currently holding meetings throughout the country to engage communities and industry in a process to define a “Consent Process” for interim storage sites (radioactive dumps) for high level waste (HLW). HLW is made up of reactor fuel cores, spent rods and waste from reprocessing—the hottest and most toxic waste that exists.
Under President Obama, a “Blue Ribbon Commission” was tasked with finding a way to expedite siting of the high-level waste dumps. The Blue Ribbon Commission recommended development of a “Consent Process” that will, in effect, allow DOE to bribe communities with “cash incentives” to take on these new radioactive dumpsites. Since no permanent site could be established at Yucca Flats, “interim sites” are being pushed on communities in its place. These sites will hold the HLW until a, theoretically safe, permanent site can be established sometime in the next 100 years.
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Noel Marquez has been working on community murals for a long time. He started the La Tierra mural with school children in Artesia during an Art in the Park event in 1992 in the same way he did the No Consent—Dragon mural at the Juneteenth Celebration in Carlsbad.
note: WIPP is a disposal dump for transuranic waste, not for low level waste.