The New Mexico Environmental Law Center bestowed its annual Toxic Turkey Award to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for nearly six decades of polluting the human and natural environment and continuous violations of basic principles of environmental justice. The federal government expropriated the sacred places of the people of the San Ildefonso and Santa Clara Pueblos as an isolated location for the secret laboratory. In the following decades, LANL dumped hazardous chemical, metal and radioactive waste into arroyos running off the Pajarito Plateau and into hundreds of unlined pits and trenches within the Lab’s boundary, all of which will eventually contaminate the drinking water aquifer and the Rio Grande.

In addition to the Toxic Turkey award, the Law Center also gave several awards to organizations or individuals who have been champions for water protection, environmental protection, and community advocacy. Two of those awards also reflected on LANL’s egregious record.

Tewa Women United was awarded the Jeanne Gauna Community Environmental Advocacy Award for New Mexicans who have given significant time and effort toward grassroots advocacy for the welfare of our state’s communities, especially through the linkage of environmental health and community well-being.

Joni Arends, long-time Executive Director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS), received the Griff Salisbury Environmental Protection Award as an outstanding individual who has made significant contributions to the protection of New Mexico’s Environment.

Norman Gaume, former director of the Interstate Stream Commission, received the Karl Souder Water Protection Award, which honors an outstanding individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the protection of New Mexico water.

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