NMED to lab: No renegotiation of Consent Order

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LANL: Cleanup of facilities curtailed by funding cuts

By John Severance

Discussion about the LANL Consent Order has been rare in a public forum.

But this morning in Santa Fe, New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin gave a presentation to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities and he made one thing perfectly clear.

“NMED is not renegotiating the Consent Order,” Martin said.

So what is the Consent Order?

An Order of Consent between the New Mexico Environment Department and Los Alamos National Laboratory was signed on March 1, 2005. The Order provides the timetable and requirements for environmental cleanup of hazardous constituents for the laboratory. Following the schedule of the Order, the clean-up program will be completed by 2015.

Cleanup had been buoyed by $212 million in stimulus funding as part of the Recovery Act.

But that funding has dried up.

And the federal government has proposed cutting funding in FY12 for lab cleanup from $360 million to $185 million and for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad; the proposed cuts are $28 million from $228 million to $200 million.

Congress has also proposed eliminating another $28 million for funding in maintenance and repair of state highways.

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