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The Northern New Mexico Citizen’s Advisory Board (NNMCAB) played host this week to about 50 people who turned out to celebrate the opening of the NNMCAB’s new office in Pojoaque.
The office building is located at 94 Cities of Gold Road, next to the Pojoaque Visitors Center, and it serves as administrative office, meeting place and reading room for regulatory documents associated with environmental work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
“This is an outstanding and unique facility open to the public,” said Kevin Smith, Manager of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Site Office. “The establishment of this facility, with its comprehensive environmental resources, is another major step toward transparency in the stewardship of the Los Alamos site.”
Attendees to the event included New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Secretary David Martin and NMED Deputy Secretary Butch Tongate, members of the NNMCAB including its Chair, Ralph Phelps, Pojoaque Pueblo representative Joseph Viarrial, DOE’s Assistant Manager for Environmental Projects at Los Alamos Pete Maggiore, area residents and LANL officials. Michael Lopez and Michele Jacquez-Ortiz of Sen. Tom Udall’s office also attended the open house.
The NNMCAB is one of only eight U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Site-Specific Advisory Boards (SSABs) chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management. The advisory boards provide DOE with recommendations regarding environmental monitoring, remediation & waste management issues. The NNMCAB is site-specific to LANL.
“The NNMCAB is very fortunate to have an office and meeting center of this quality and in a great central location like Pojoaque to help us in our mission of advising the DOE on legacy waste cleanup at LANL,” Phelps said. “The office, and the library information here, will promote and facilitate the CAB’s communications with the citizens in the northern New Mexico area and will be a perfect base of operations for all our committee work.”
The NNMCAB moved to Pojoaque from Santa Fe in December 2011 to increase visibility and community awareness and to provide a more convenient location for area residents. Board meetings are bi-monthly in cities around northern New Mexico, but the new office’s conference room and offices will host committee meetings and visiting DOE personnel.
The LANL Public Reading Room, a reference library formerly located on LANL property, includes water and air monitoring data, reports, maps, and other information on environmental management programs at the LANL site. It was decided to co-locate the LANL Public Reading Room with the NNMCAB office in order to provide better service to members of the public seeking information on LANL’s environmental cleanup activities and documents associated with application of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at LANL.
The next Board meeting of the NNMCAB will be Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at The Lodge in Santa Fe from 1-7 p.m.