Cleanup must not be afterthought

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By The Staff

The cleanup of the land in and around Los Alamos National Laboratory must not be something that eventually gets done.

It must be a priority.

And this must start with our delegation in Washington and with the Department of Energy.

Because of funding issues there is a danger that the agreement between the state and the DOE on a timetable to do the cleanup will not be met. We have to agree with NMED Secretary Ron Curry that that is unacceptable.

At a townhall meeting with officials of the New Mexico Environment Department, the subject of this Consent Order and the possibility that the lab may fail to meet its cleanup obligations were discussed.

The NMED is responsible for supervising the comprehensive environmental cleanup program under the terms of a court settlement known as the Consent Order.

And representatives say they are concerned that the schedule will not be met.

A DOE report revealed that milestones for finishing the environmental cleanup by 2015 might not be met because of funding shortfalls that have been apparent since the Consent Order was signed in 2005.

And we have to agree with the state: That is unacceptable.

The lab is certainly willing to do its part – but there must be money. The state is ready to do its part – but needs to see the money.

And the DOE must come up with the money.

This is not something that we should do when we can; it must be done now.

It is acknowledged that the laboratory has requested the funding, but is getting less than what it asked for this year and next.

Congress must stop playing games with us, it must get this work done and must fund this project now.

Step in right direction

The announcement by Gov. Richardson that he will probably not call a special session until after the June primary is a good move.

Putting this “health care summit” session off as long as possible is a good idea.

This is a very huge undertaking and needs complete and realistic study. It is not a matter of passing a bill and by some magic everyone has health insurance.

There will be a cost – that must be paid by someone – somewhere and it is only prudent that some serious thought – not politicking – go into this.

So the move to this summer – at the least – is a good idea.