Assistant Speaker Luján Secures Major Environmental And Scientific Investments For New Mexicans

U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced Friday that he secured major environmental and scientific victories for New Mexican families in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which Friday passed the House.
“As President Trump continues to undermine our country’s national security and economy, House Democrats took the responsible step to keep Americans safe, invest in our communities, support our servicemembers, and protect our environment. I am proud to have championed efforts to stand up for those poisoned by radiation in service to our country, for our national labs, and for New Mexican dairy farmers,” Luján said.
The House-passed NDAA offers new protections for New Mexican communities who have suffered because of PFOA or PFOS contamination in agricultural lands. The legislation mandates that the Air Force clean or replace water that it has contaminated – a major step to help dairy farmers whose businesses have suffered due to no fault of their own.
The legislation also includes a provision to create the White Sands National Park, a new national park that will preserve New Mexico’s natural resources and boost New Mexico’s economy.
Additionally, the NDAA included Luján’s ACCESS Act. This bipartisan proposal will build a strong workforce pipeline by creating strategic and sustained collaborations between local educational institutions, apprenticeship programs, and New Mexico’s National Labs.
The NDAA includes a 3.1 percent pay raise for active duty servicemembers and efforts to improve military housing.
Luján offered three amendments that will benefit New Mexicans:
  • Recognizing Those Exposed to Radiation: Assistant Speaker Luján authored an amendment that provides a congressional apology related to the impact that atmospheric nuclear testing and uranium mining had on the state of New Mexico. This is an important step forward in Lujan’s efforts to strengthen the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.
  • Safeguarding Lab Research: Assistant Speaker Luján secured language to help ensure that each National Nuclear Security Administration facility adopts accepted and consistent accounting practices related to lab direct research.
  • Creating an Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program for National Labs: Assistant Speaker Luján secured a report on the feasibility and benefits of a lab-embedded entrepreneurial fellowship program for National Security Labs, such as Los Alamos and Sandia national labs. Such a program would advance national security technologies from early research to entrepreneurial development and deployment.