In December 1998, 39 environmental and peace organizations won a landmark lawsuit against the U.S Department of Energy for failure to follow-through on adequate environmental cleanup during its 50+ years of nuclear weapons research, testing, and production. Part of this settlement was the establishment of the MTA Fund (Citizens’ Monitoring and Technical Assessment Fund), which provided $6.25 million for tribes and non-profit organizations to assess and conduct independent technical and scientific studies regarding the multitude of technical, ecological, and health issues surrounding the nation’s nuclear weapons complex.
The grants allocated by the MTA Fund were awarded in six rounds of grant proposal reviews. The fund was administered by the independent environmental mediation organization RESOLVE as well as an advisory board made up of plaintiff representatives and members from affected groups and communities. Reports were finalized over the years 2001 through 2007. These grants support public dissemination of studies, reviews, and analyses conducted through the MTA Fund, but do not support their use for litigation, lobbying, general administrative support, or fundraising.
Clark University was chosen by the non-profit peace and environmental groups as the conservator of these reports to ensure they remain available to the public in perpetuity. The unconventional election of university as conservator is an innovative example, particularly within the era of Web 1.0, of higher education as protector and provider of information through wide dissemination.
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