U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M.-03, spoke on the House floor July 9 in an exchange with the chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.
Luján encouraged appropriate funding for environmental cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory and to restore operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The exchange occurred during debate on the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act. Below are their remarks.
Lujan: “Mr. Chairman, for over 70 years our national laboratories have worked to ensure the security of our nation. We have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment in relation to the historic and ongoing radiological work at these laboratories. At Los Alamos, there are legal obligations, including the 3706 Campaign to remove Trans-Uranic, or TrU, Waste and the broader 2005 Consent Order between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of New Mexico, to remediate legacy waste at Los Alamos.
“Two major wild fires near Los Alamos National Lab have highlighted the importance of removing above-ground waste from this facility. DOE was nearing completion of the 3706 campaign when the nation’s only repository for TrU waste, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, experienced first a fire and then a radiological release.
“As we work to restore WIPP operations, we must ensure that our national laboratories have the resources to meet their legal obligations for environmental remediation and also recognize our moral obligation to these communities who have served our great nation. It is with this intention that I request the Chair to work with me and representatives from other affected communities as this bill moves forward to conference to ensure that adequate and appropriate funds are available, not only for restoration operations of WIPP, but also for legally mandated environmental remediation efforts at Los Alamos and other affected national laboratories…”
Simpson: “I’d like to thank the gentleman from New Mexico for his continued advocacy of the cleanup program at Los Alamos. I look forward to working with you on ensuring adequate funding is available to support the Department of Energy’s cleanup program, including the cleanup work at Los Alamos and the restoration of operations at WIPP. And I thank the gentleman.”