Regulator won't reopen LANL cleanup deal

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By Roger Snodgrass

A townhall meeting with officials of the New Mexico Environment Department returned repeatedly to the subject of a landmark Consent Order and the possibility that Los Alamos National Laboratory may fail to meet its cleanup obligations.

Several dozen people turned out for the parley between the two camps and the public, including political leaders and a representative showing of professionals engaged in environmental issues.

“I don’t think we quite have you guys outnumbered, so that’s a good sign,” said Jon Goldstein, the department’s deputy secretary, as he surveyed the audience in Fuller Lodge Tuesday night.

Secretary Ron Curry opened the meeting by introducing his staff and recalling his personal relationship with the laboratory that goes back to when his father worked on the Manhattan Project.

The general topic of the meeting was the range of work the department does in Los Alamos.

A primary responsibility involves supervising the comprehensive environmental cleanup program under the terms of a court settlement known as the Consent Order. But the much broader responsibilities include regulating laboratory operations and how much and what kind of hazardous waste is generated, as well as such tasks as air and environmental monitoring, and inspecting food services in the cafeteria.

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