Heinrich Seeks DOE Assurance for LANL Cleanup Funds


The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing yesterday to consider the president’s proposed budget for the Department of Energy for fiscal year 2014.

During that hearing, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., sought assurance from DOE’s Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Daniel Poneman that waste cleanup efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory would receive sufficient funding this year.

This is part of Heinrich’s ongoing effort to ensure all priority cleanup efforts at LANL stay on schedule.

On April 3, Senators Heinrich and Tom Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan sent a letter urging DOE to guarantee LANL has the resources it needs for ongoing remediation of legacy nuclear waste, stating that this would “demonstrate good faith” in meeting its commitments to the people of New Mexico.

Albuquerque Journal Washington Correspondent Michael Coleman writes,Heinrich wants DOE to assure LANL cleanup: Sen. Martin Heinrich sought assurances Thursday from the Department of Energy about waste cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory and warned his Senate colleagues that planned reductions in nuclear weapons wouldn’t necessarily mean big savings for taxpayers. The New Mexico Democrat, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made the remarks at a committee hearing to examine the budget of the U.S. Department of Energy. Daniel Poneman, the department’s deputy secretary, told Heinrich the Energy Department is committed to cleaning up radioactive and other wastes at LANL as required under a binding agreement with the state. “We are firmly committed to meeting our objectives,” Poneman said, noting that final spending amounts for LANL cleanup could fluctuate as Congress grapples with the effects of the sequester, or broad budget cuts that went into effect in March as part of debt reduction deal Congress reached in 2011. The Obama administration’s proposed federal budget unveiled last week included a $31.8 million increase for cleanup of radioactive and other wastes at LANL. Heinrich and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., have asked for more, but there is no guarantee Congress will go along. For the 2014 fiscal year, Obama has requested $219.8 million for “defense environmental cleanup” at LANL, including about $4 million for administration. That’s up from $188 million in the current budget year.” [Albuquerque Journal, April 19, 2013]



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