SANTA FE ― The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) held its monthly Board meeting Oct. 14, at the Taos Plaza Old County Courthouse in Taos.
From the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), NM Secretary of Environment, Bruce Tongate and Katie Roberts, Director of the Resource Protection Division reported on the updated Consent Order Agreement. This agreement between the NMED and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) guides and governs the cleanup of legacy waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Roberts discussed how NMED has incorporated public comments received by 37 stakeholder groups and individuals. Within the new Consent Order, NMED assures that the opportunity for public comment on remedy selection for cleanup sites remains accessible and intact. The new Consent Order now requires annual public meetings, offering updates on milestones and targets reached, and will necessitate participation from communities impacted by any future modifications to the document.
Regional Coalition Vice-Chair Mayor Gonzales, City of Santa Fe commented that the NMED seems to have “…really listened to the community and the RCLC to allow a process that is balanced and ensures an outcome that achieves community-driven action.” The first annual public meeting is 5-7 p.m., Nov. 16 at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos with a joint presentation by DOE and NMED.
The President & Executive Director of New Mexico Tax Research Institute, Richard Anklam, provided valuable information on tax history and policy concerning the NM gross receipts tax issue, which would eliminate the tax exempt status of managing & operating contractors of state-hosted DOE National Laboratories to ensure the State of New Mexico continues to receive tax revenue from LANL and Sandia Labs. Anklam reinforced that “the RCLC’s fiscal concerns are aligned with those of the State’s…and the contribution from the Federal Government and National Laboratories is a significant part of New Mexico’s economy and tax base”.
Former Board member Councilor Andrew Gonzales, Town of Taos, was honored for his four years of service on the Regional Coalition’s Board of Directors. He thanked the Regional Coalition for the opportunity to serve and for the Board’s dedication to the RCLC’s directives and constituents. The Regional Coalition’s November Board meeting has been canceled due to conflicting schedules. The next Board meeting, open to the public, will be held from 9-11 a.m., December 9, at City of Santa Fe Council Chambers.