Senators, N.M. delegation protest DOD shift: Problems with nuclear weapons management structure acknowledged

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By Roger Snodgrass

Opponents of a study that originated in the Office of Management and Budget raised their voices a notch this week.

Two letters, both signed by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Energy and Natural Resource Committee, were fired off to OMB Director Peter Orszag and released Wednesday.

The letters express “firm opposition” to the subject of the study, which has to do with transferring the National Nuclear Security Administration to the Department of Defense.

One letter was signed by a group of bipartisan senators in key leadership positions, representing a virtual legislative blockade over such a change.

Along with Bingaman, backers included the ranking member of the energy committee, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Byron Dorgan, (D-N.D.) and Sen. Robert Bennett (chairman and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Appropriation Subcommittee) and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the Strategic Subcommittee of the armed services committee.

A second letter was signed in concert by the New Mexico Congressional delegation, with much the same message, but referring specifically to Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.

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