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April 14, 2012

MINUTES OF WNCPSR MEETING, APRIL 13, 2012

GILMANS' HOME, ASHEVILLE

PRESENT: Stan Dienst, Bob Howarth, Phil Bisesi, Steve Gilman, Don Richardson, Lew Patrie, Terry Clark, Beth Gilman (refreshments)

MINUTES of the March 16, 2012 meeting approved as written.

TREASURER'S REPORT: John Joyner in absentia reported our balance as $1155.31.

OLD BUSINESS:

Terry reported that our grant request to National was approved for approximately $1200 with no strings attached: we can use it for our coal ash project and/or other activities. Mary Kerwin, an excellent facilitator at National, is our grant contact. We will be able to hire someone for a specific project, as needed.  Motion made and passed for a subcommittee to proceed. Steve, Phi and Terry volunteered. John Joyner, as our tresurer, will be asked if he's interested.

Terry discussed getting Ali Thebert to do a program on single payer and Medicare for all. He related reporter John Boyle's horrible experience with the health care system as an example of the need for reform. Ali Thebert is also expert on how to do effective actions. We could have two talks a day apart, maybe with interested cosponsors. Local medical society should be involved.

Stan discussed progress on the abolition of nukes and the need for a near-future program on this issue, which is static, given that our obligation to end all nuclear weapons programs is being ignored.

Don reported on the March 28 joint meeting with the Asheville offices of Congressman Heath Shuler and Senator Kay Hagan (Chad Eaton and Freddie Harrill). We were limited to thirty minutes but were able to cover our issues of nukes, corporate personhood and women's rights. Present were Phil, Bob and Don.

NEW BUSINESS:

Steve gave a lengthy and detailed report on his activities at the recent national PSR Board Meeting of March 29, 2012. He has volunteered to be a codirector of the PSR Southeast Region along with a woman physician in Florida.

Lew updated the status of campaign finance reform and Citizens United activities nationally. (Locally Asheville City Council approved the non-binding resolution of Lew's group to amend the Constitution to remove corporate personhood; Don, in Brevard, was met with a city council too afraid to even vote on it!) Peggy Guy is working to get a group together to present the proposition to the Hendersonville City Council.

There was a discussion of the present situation at Fukushima, which was presented at the talk by our friend and colleague Dr. Helen Caldicott at the First Congregational Church on Oak Street two nights ago, to a SRO audience.  Helen's impassioned speech stirred the audience and energized many. She said that the condition of Fukushima Daiichi Fuel Pool #4 was such that its collapse could seriously contaminate the entire northern hemisphere, and would be a threat to all life, causing her to move her family from the Boston area back to Australia. (Presumably the southern hemisphere would be less effected and at a later time).

Bob reported on the present state of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). Ohio is very   active on this issue. Steve passed around copies of an unpublished draft of the PSR position on fracking.

Stan discussed an article from the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, see www.ncdenr.gov, re fracking.

Stan also reported on the book The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban The Bomb,  by Philip Taubman, a good read at around $28.

Terry said there was little progress on the coal ash problem. Several organizations including Sierra, Earth Justice and PSR are cosponsoring a suit vs. EPA for their failure to deal with coal ash. Terry will meet soon with both our senators in D.C. on this issue.

Lew  circulated an email on the upcoming Oak Ridge event, "The Folly of Icarus," sponsored by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) on April 21. Security made possible by nuclear weapons is as rational as Icarus's mythical wings, but much more dangerous because nuclear weapons endanger all life on Earth. This event is one more important effort to halt progress toward the first new thermonuclear weapons production plant in 40 years, at Oak Ridge. People are invited to gather in downtown Oak Ridge, TN, at 12:30 PM in Bissell Park, and set out on a march to the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant. See www.orepa.org for more information.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 PM.
Next meeting is May 18, noon at the Gilmans'

Don Richardson, Fuel Pool 4 Secretary Pro Tem

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