SANTA FE ― The New Mexico Environment Department signed and finalized the Consent Order between the State of New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Environmental Management office, which will guide and govern the cleanup of legacy waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
“The new Consent Order will accelerate the pace of environmental restoration activities in and around Los Alamos,” New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said. “While the previous version of the Consent Order allowed valuable investigative work to be accomplished, the revised Consent Order will now prioritize cleanup activities.”
The Consent Order is a settlement agreement between the Environment Department and the Department of Energy that provides the process in which investigation and remediation of contamination from legacy waste management activities at Los Alamos National Laboratory occurs. A recent report from the Department of Energy estimates the remaining scope of work required under the Consent Order will cost up to $3.8 billion and take 19 years under current funding levels.
Any cleanup work that was not completed under the former 2005 Consent Order is carried forward into the 2016 Consent Order. Flynn explained, “The 2016 Consent Order serves as a stronger tool for substantiating federal budget requests for increased cleanup funds. After seeing federal cleanup dollars drop to $189M last year, the Environment Department articulated the emphasis on expediting cleanup within the 2016 Consent Order to get the work done and to help Los Alamos to demonstrate the tangible results that support greater federal appropriations. We believe an annual appropriation of $255M is more appropriate for the site.”