Cleanup must not be afterthought

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By The Staff

The cleanup of the land in and around Los Alamos National Laboratory must not be something that eventually gets done.

It must be a priority.

And this must start with our delegation in Washington and with the Department of Energy.

Because of funding issues there is a danger that the agreement between the state and the DOE on a timetable to do the cleanup will not be met. We have to agree with NMED Secretary Ron Curry that that is unacceptable.

At a townhall meeting with officials of the New Mexico Environment Department, the subject of this Consent Order and the possibility that the lab may fail to meet its cleanup obligations were discussed.

The NMED is responsible for supervising the comprehensive environmental cleanup program under the terms of a court settlement known as the Consent Order.

And representatives say they are concerned that the schedule will not be met.

A DOE report revealed that milestones for finishing the environmental cleanup by 2015 might not be met because of funding shortfalls that have been apparent since the Consent Order was signed in 2005.

And we have to agree with the state: That is unacceptable.

The lab is certainly willing to do its part – but there must be money. The state is ready to do its part – but needs to see the money.

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