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Katie the Goat
Katie the Goat was the source of inspiration for the Mothers Milk Project.
Katie became a news media celebrity, participating in events that took her from the State Capitol in Hartford in 2006 to the White House on March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the Fukushima triple nuclear meltdown.
Then-First Lady Michelle Obama pronounced Katie’s invitation to donate a granddaughter to the First Family to serve as a White House pet as well as radiation monitor “a fantastic idea.”
In 2001, it is believed that Katie’s milk contained the highest level of strontium-90 ever detected in milk in the state of Connecticut, perhaps the nation, with a concentration of 55 picoCuries/liter when she grazed five miles downwind of the Millstone nuclear power station in Waterford. It is designed to continuously release radiation to the air.
That number was twice the highest concentration of strontium-90 recorded in milk sampled in Connecticut during the peak of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s – in other words, a danger to human life.
Most samples of Katie’s milk, taken when she lived near Millstone from the late 1990s until 2003, had elevated levels of strontium-90, as well as strontium-89 and cesium-137. All are potent carcinogens
Katie was stricken with inoperable cancer and died on Sunday, August 12, 2012, at her Redding, Connecticut home.
Katie became a news media celebrity when she first ventured to the State Capitol in 2006 for a press conference alongside her suckling kids, Cindy-Lu and Joe-Joe, after anti-nuclear activists became aware of the high concentrations of radioisotopes in her milk, as reported by Millstone’s owner, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., and its predecessor Northeast Utilities.
Dr. Ernest Sternglass,
eminent physicist who analyzed Katie’s milk sampling data and
warned of its high radioactivity content, appears at 2006 press conference,
here shaking paws with Katie’s son Joe-Joe.
There is no federal or state standard for strontium-89 or strontium-90 levels in milk nor do federal regulations limit the volume of strontium-89 and strontium-90 that nuclear power plants may release to the environment, according to Nancy Burton, co-director of the Mothers Milk Project, which collects milk from dairy cows and goats as well as humans and has it tested for levels of radioactivity.
Katie’s 2006 press conference on the lawn of the State Capitol, alongside her kids Cindu-Lu and Joe-Joe, forced then-Governor M. Jodi Rell to direct the state DEP to investigate the cause of high concentrations of strontium-90 in Katie’s milk.
Then-DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy released a report absolving Millstone from any role in the milk poisoning but failed to provide a credible alternative explanation, Burton said.
“Two qualified scientists studied the DEP report and rebuked it as junk science,” Burton said. Both experts tried to meet with the DEP authors of the study to correct what they perceived to be gross errors, but to no avail.
later served as President Obama’s appointee as the federal Environmental
Protection Agency’s assistant secretary for air and radiation,
where her responsibilities included protecting the public from radiation
hazards; she presently occupies the position of National Climate Advisor
in the Biden Administration.)
Katie in Redding with her caretaker, Nancy Burton
Katie became a familiar presence at anti-Millstone rallies near Millstone and elsewhere around the state. She appeared next to Ralph Nader, longtime anti-nuclear advocate, in Willimantic. She offered up a sample of her milk at a “Clean Beaches” rally in East Lyme where activists gathered to protest Millstone waste discharges to Niantic Bay, a popular recreational site for swimmers. She wore a “Got Strontium?” sign at a rally supporting a Millstone whistleblower who was fired after reporting to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Dominion routinely deliberately deactivated its perimeter security system after 9-11 to cut costs.
Katie was diagnosed with inoperable soft tissue sarcoma in her left shoulder in February 2012. The medical condition is associated with radiation exposure, Burton said.
A Farewell Tour was planned.
Katie returned to the State Capitol for a press conference. Though invited, Governor Dannel Malloy refused to meet Katie and his office issued a statement that he would not meet her in the future.
Katie’s keeper, Burton, communicated with the First Family, asking it to adopt Dana Blue-Eyes, one of Katie’s granddaughters, to serve as a White House pet as well as an onsite radiation monitor.
Through her press office, then-First Lady Michelle Obama replied:
“Dear Ms. Burton,
Undeterred, Katie and 3-month-old Dana Blue-Eyes headed to Washington DC and strolled in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on March 11, attracting attention to issues of nuclear power hazards.
Katie’s daughter, Cindy-Lu, who accompanied her to the State Capitol in in 2006, later had children of her own and donated milk to the Mothers Milk Project. Her milk frequently tested positive for strontium-89 and strontium-90.
granddaughter, Dana Blue-Eyes, grew up and gave birth to Athena and Victoria,
who followed in the Katie-the-Goat family tradition.
Katie the Goat was recognized and remembered at a nationally-sponsored rally to end nuclear power and nuclear weapons at the U.S. Capitol on September 20, 2012.
Nancy Burton, Katie’s caretaker, addressed the rally of C.A.N. (Coalition Against Nukes), telling national anti-nuclear leaders and grassroots activists gathered from across the country about Katie’s radiation monitoring near the Millstone and Indian Point nuclear power plants.
Burton called on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require nuclear power plant operators to allow the public to access real-time control room data of reactor radioactive emissions to the air and water..
To date, the NRC refuses to do so; it prefers to keep the public in the dark about radiation in the air we breathe.
Other speakers included Jim Riccio, nuclear policy analyst for Greenpeace, Diane D’Arrigo, of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Fukushima native Iori Mochizuki, Kendra Ulrich of Friends of the Earth, Robert Tohe of the Sierra Club, Kristin Iverson, author of Full Body Burden, and many others.
rally kicked off a major three-day event including a Congressional briefing
on defective nuclear power plants led by Congressman Dennis Kucinich,
and an “Occupy the NRC” protest at the NRC headquarters.