Established in 1971, the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations. SRIC has worked on a wide range of environmental and health issues, primarily in response to community concerns and requests. SRIC also assists in networking groups to share information and actions. SRIC combines technical research, public information, wide-ranging assistance to communities, and public policy advocacy.
While primarily focused on the Southwest, SRIC is also known nationally for publishing for 25 years (1974-1999) The Workbook, a periodical of information and tools for citizen action on more than 25 subject areas from urban to rural, children to senior citizens, agriculture, environment, health, and many others.
Uranium Impact Assessment Program – Intensive water and air quality sampling and analysis on the Navajo Nation to better understand the relationship between uranium exposures and health, including of developmental delays of children, in cooperation with the University of New Mexico, Navajo Nation, Indian Health Service and other partners, funded by the federal government.
Assistance to communities to promote cleanup of abandoned uranium sites and prevention of future contamination.
Nuclear Waste Program – Working in New Mexico on WIPP and to stop proposed commercial spent fuel storage and nationally to promote improved safety at nuclear power and weapons sites.
In the 1980s, SRIC coordinated the National Nuclear Waste Task Force that brought together citizen organizations in the 14 states that were targeted for high-level nuclear waste storage and disposal.
In the 1980s and 1990s, SRIC was involved in efforts to provide compensation to radiation victims that resulted in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), and networking with activists to share information on mining sites and oil-field wastes.
For more than 30 years, SRIC has been a member of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a national network of organizations working to address issues of nuclear weapons production and waste cleanup.
For more than 40 years, SRIC has watchdogged the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the nation’s only geologic repository for nuclear wastes.
SRIC has also worked internationally regarding uranium and other mining contamination and reclamation issues and for more than a decade has coordinated exchanges of Russians and Mongolians concerned about mining and sustainable energy issues with native communities in the U.S. Southwest.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION
There is a significant amount of local and regional activism and advocacy on environmental, health, and justice issues. However, very often the groups and individuals doing this work do not have the resources to provide important information to and carry out advocacy in Washington, DC. The work of national groups could be more effective by connecting to the stories and information from around the nation. Likewise, grassroots efforts could translate into better national public policy if they have more timely information about administrative and congressional activities and better access to decision makers.