Wilson: Congressional delegation failed to stick up for Los Alamos

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Politics: Candidate vows to fight for labs if she gets elected

By John Severance

Heather Wilson, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said she is very concerned about Los Alamos.
After President Obama released the FY13 budget, it was revealed the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement project would be deferred for at least five years.

“A little over a year ago, President Obama made a commitment to modernize our nuclear weapons complex in order to maintain a safe, reliable nuclear deterrent at lower levels of forces,” Wilson said. “That commitment included replacing a 60-year-old facility at Los Alamos for handling plutonium. In his new budget, however, President Obama has broken that commitment. And as a result, an estimated 1,000 jobs will be killed for 10 years in Los Alamos.”

Wilson, who was in Espanola for a campaign lunch, said in a phone interview that nobody in the New Mexico Congressional delegation is willing to fight for Los Alamos.

“Not only is this bad for our country and its national security, it’s bad for New Mexico and our economy. I believe we need a handful of people who will steward our nation’s defense even in a time of peace. New Mexico needs someone who will fight for our laboratories — someone who understands our state’s unique contributions in national security. Since Senator Pete Domenici retired, we have not had a voice in Washington in our delegation who really understands New Mexico’s contributions to the national defense of our country. I intend to stand up for New Mexico and fight for our labs when I am elected to the U.S. Senate.”

Here is what members of the Congressional delegation said about the CMRR project being deferred.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico: “As a result of the Budget Control Act, which I did not support, funding cuts are being recommended across the government in order to meet deficit reduction targets. While the CMRR project has been targeted, we cannot forget that Los Alamos National Laboratory plays an integral role in our nation as well as in New Mexico.  I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to support Los Alamos National Laboratory, advance scientific research, continue environmental remediation, and reduce the stockpile of nuclear weapons around the world.”

Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico: “Both the Bush and Obama Administrations called for the CMRR to satisfy New START obligations and to address the growing safety issues at the 50-year-old building it’s meant to replace. In the face of dramatic budget cuts, construction delays and growing costs, it’s being put on the back-burner by the administration. I have concerns about how this will affect the lab employees working in the outdated building and its impact on Northern New Mexico. I look forward to a full explanation about the shift.”

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM:   “For years we have been told the CMRR nuclear facility was necessary.  Now we’re being told there may be alternatives.  I look forward to hearing more from the administration about this change in plans.”

Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico: "I have concerns the administration has not adequately explained to the public this change in policy or how it will affect our national security and LANL's mission to execute our new START responsibilities."

Heinrich also pointed out that House Republicans took the first step to cut CMRR last year in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal. 

"Based on the spending plan laid out a year ago in support of the administration's treaty commitment, "full funding" meant $300 million this year and another $300 million next year for the Los Alamos project. But House Republicans took the first steps to unravel the deal, voting last year to cut $100 million from the administration's fiscal year 2012 request for the Los Alamos project."

Why isn't there a picture of Heinrich too?

It seems the article contains comments from many other politicians - why did the Monitor choose to only run a large one of Ms. Wilson? Hmm.