Executive Director Appointed
(Jackson, WY) Jackson resident Dan Walker has been appointed as the new Executive Director for Keep Yellowstone Nuclear Free. Walker served as the Program Director for KYNF’s cleanup and environmental programs for the past year. His work with KYNF involved improving communication with, and reporting on, Idaho National Laboratory and the Idaho Cleanup Project.
Prior to working for KYNF, Walker was a senior analyst at BAE Systems. Working primarily with the Department of Defense, his role with BAE involved managing subject matter experts, primarily engineers, in the analysis of various military capabilities ranging from optics to missile defense.
Walker’s role with KYNF over the past year has grown significantly from the initial goal of monitoring the Idaho Cleanup Project. Through an increased frequency of meetings with INL representatives, Walker has heightened established communication with various lab directors, scientists, and field workers. KYNF believes dialogue is a benefit. Walker states, “There are fascinating projects occurring at INL, ranging from the obvious nuclear research programs and legacy waste cleanup to biomass research, water preservation, and alternative energies. Increased communication can only help with KYNF’s role in educating the public from an environmentalist’s vantage. I may personally agree or disagree with varying programs but it frankly doesn’t matter. KYNF only exists to evaluate environmental impact and take action when assessments reveal the need.”
Looking forward, Walker sees KYNF’s environmental advocacy role more important than ever. Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission is currently evaluating the economic benefits to expanding its nuclear industry infrastructure, primarily at INL. While KYNF fully supports Idaho’s right to pursue economic growth, Walker has pointed out that the Commission is staffed almost entirely by commerce and industry representatives, and politicians. “This is not a technocratic approach, it is a commerce driven approach to economic growth. Whenever a political body is comprised in this fashion it necessitates increased vigilance from environmental advocacy groups.” He points out that despite the polarizing namesake, KYNF remains completely neutral on the nuclear energy debate, “We’re not here to stop INL, nuclear research, or even nuclear energy. KYNF exists to objectively review environmental impact. We utilize our own resources, but we also maintain and encourage open dialogue with Department of Energy assets in order to investigate all perspectives.”
Former director James Powell has stepped down from KYNF to pursue his career as a paramedic with the Jackson Hole Fire Department.