Coalition looking for more cleanup dollars

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Lab > Obama’s budget proposal shorts environmental remediation commitments

By Arin McKenna

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget took center stage at the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities meeting Friday.

The administration is requesting $1.96 billion for Los Alamos National Laboratory this year, an increase of $135 million. However, only $$219 million of that amount is for environmental cleanup, down from $235 million in FY2013.

The Department of Energy has made a similar request, asking for a total environmental management (EM) budget of $5.622 billion, with only $220 million earmarked for LANL.

Coalition Chair David Coss, also the Santa Fe mayor, pointed out that the administration’s budget increases spending for the nuclear weapons program but decreases expenditures for science, nonproliferation and environmental remediation.

“The Environmental Department convinced me two years ago that we shouldn’t fine, we shouldn’t sue, we should work with people in good faith,” Coss said. “We’re not getting anywhere. We need to go to Washington in June and push for what to the federal government is a trivial amount of money.”