Regional Coalition Heading to Nation’s Capital to Push for Additional LANL Cleanup Funding

RCLC News:

SANTA FE – The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities is leading a 13-member delegation to Washington, D.C. to push for more cleanup funding for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The group will meet with members of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation, as well as top officials at the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration to press for the Coalition’s top priority — increased federal funding to continue environmental remediation across northern New Mexico.

“This type of work is incredibly important for the Regional Coalition and our effort has already had a direct impact through the millions of additional dollars LANL received for cleanup funding this year,” said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, chairman of the Regional Coalition. “Without this funding, we would have been even further away from the amount of cleanup dollars that we need for our communities and we could have seen a loss of up to 140 jobs.”

“LANL must get the funding it needs to continue the important environmental cleanup that is underway,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “The effects of sequestration and underfunded budgets in prior years means we must work even harder for New Mexico cleanup at an urgent time of need. The fires burning across the state now remind us of the danger to waste storage sites during the Las Conchas Fire in 2011. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’m going to fight to ensure the federal government keeps its commitments to New Mexico, regardless of the fiscal situation that we are dealing with.”

“LANL must have sufficient resources to continue its legacy waste cleanup effort, and ensure all planned restoration remains on schedule and critical milestones are met,” said U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “This is an important commitment the Department of Energy has made to the people of New Mexico, and I will continue to work with the Regional Coalition to ensure it remains a top funding priority.”

“Funding for environmental cleanup is critical to ensuring the safety of our communities and meeting the federal government’s commitment to New Mexico,” said U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “It is essential that everyone works together to advocate for these funds so that this critical work remains on schedule. I will continue to join with my colleagues in the delegation to fight for this important funding.”

The delegation is comprised of five Regional Coalition Board members, including Regional Coalition Chair Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, Vice-Chair Española Mayor Alice Lucero and Secretary/Treasurer Santa Fe County Commissioner Danny Mayfield. County Councilor Steve Girrens from Los Alamos also is traveling to Washington, D.C. as part of the delegation.

The Regional Coalition is advocating for at least $255 million in FY14 to maintain ongoing environmental management efforts at LANL.

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