On May 28, 24 non-governmental organizations, including Livermore’s Tri-Valley CAREs, signed onto a letter that was delivered to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. The letter was in response to recent reports that senior White House officials had discussed conducting the first U.S. nuclear weapon test explosion since 1992.

The proposal, a chest-thumping gesture aimed at Russia and China, is likely to spur the two countries and other nuclear-armed states to conduct their own tests, reviving the danger, devastation, and cost of a nuclear arms race.

The NGOs wrote to urge Congress to “demand a prohibition on the use of any funds to resume or prepare to resume such a test.” The following day, taking a cue from the letter, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, drafted a bill to disallow the use of U.S. funds for an explosive nuclear weapons test.

Nuclear testing has killed or sickened thousands of military personnel involved in detonations, as well as civilians who lived on, or downrange from, testing sites. Now officials are toying with lives again, as they entertain the idea of spending billions for a high-risk nuclear bargaining chip, while the costs of a deadly pandemic and depression-era unemployment continue to rise.

For high White House staff to entertain the idea of even one test strikes me as reckless, tone deaf, and way beyond the pale. If you agree, let’s act. Call California Senators Dianne Feinstein (415-393-0707) and Kamala Harris (415-981-9369). Urge them to sign on as original cosponsors of Markey’s bill. Tell them you object to the U.S. spending any funds to conduct or prepare for a yield-producing explosive nuclear weapons test.

For more information, visit www.trivalleycares.org