The ‘relationship’: Council ponders life with lab

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By Roger Snodgrass

The question of how the county should relate to Los Alamos National Laboratory got an airing at Tuesday’s county council meeting.

Council chair Jim Hall called it a discussion subject. He said he didn’t expect a motion to come out of it, and he was right. Apart from a few expressions of agreement with the previous speaker, the subject inspired nearly as many opinions from the council and public as there were commentators.

Councilor Nona Bowman had requested an extended hearing two months earlier during a March 4 council debate. The issue at that time was a letter the council was about to submit to the Department of Energy in response to a plan to transform the nuclear weapons complex.

After last year’s turmoil during the budget process and signs that the laboratory’s future may be entering a choppy phase, Bowman thought a brief statement in the letter about the laboratory’s economic impact on the town was “too vague.”

Introducing the topic again Tuesday, she said she had been told by LANL employees who had raised concerns about “broadening the base” of the laboratory that they would not be able to speak to the council, because “they’re not supposed to talk to elected officials.”

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