Coalition adopts bylaws and looks for funding

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Regional efforts: Clean-up may be in jeopardy

By John Severance

The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities adopted a pair of resolutions that will help it better conduct its business at a meeting last week in Española.

Under the guidance of its new executive director DeAnza Valencia Sapien of the MVM Group, the coalition unanimously approved a resolution establishing the bylaws of the Board of Directors and established standards of reasonable notice to the public for all coalition meetings.

Valencia Sapien was hoping to announce that the coalition would receive $100,000 in funding from the Department of Energy. “We should have it next month,” she said.

A presentation was made to the coalition, concerning the radiological environmental monitoring around Los Alamos National Laboratory.

David Fuehne, LANL’s team leader for environmental radiation protection, said there are 28 stacks continuously monitored and air is monitored at more than 50 AIRNET stations. Analysis is done for radioactive particulates including plutonium, americium, uranium, tritium and metals. Fuehne said more than 30,000 analyses were made in 2010.

He said extensive wildfire monitoring was done after Cerro Grande, Taos and Las Conchas with more than 9,000 analyses. He also said there was “no-fire-related LANL effects measured at the laboratory perimeter or regional.”

According to Fuehne, all the data is sent to the Intellus data base (intellusnmdata.com).
Regional Development Corporation Kathy Keith also gave an update to the board concerning the business leaders’ trip to Washington.

Keith provided the following summary.
• New Mexico receives more funding from DOE/NNSA than any other state; however, the NNSA has a focus on finding administrative efficiencies, which will result in budget impacts for DOE sites including LANL.
• The DOE’s five-year delay of the CMRR project is a subject of controversy between DOE and policy makers in Congress and the Department of Defense. In the short term, there will need to be an “interim strategy” to do work without the new facility. In the long term, LANL may risk losing the CMRR facility, its capability and approximately 1,000 staff if the work is moved elsewhere.
• If Congress does not pass funding bills before Oct. 1, LANL will be operating under a six-month Continuing Resolution. Funding levels for cleanup under the CR will be $189 million minus 10 percent. “This would cause further problems in LANL’s remediation schedules and could have further negative impacts on the environmental subcontracting community currently serving LANL,” Keith said.
• $235 million in cleanup funding has been requested for FY 2013 by the administration and Congress has agreed to roughly that amount should they ever pass the appropriations bill funding LANL. “This amount looks favorable in both the House and Senate, but will not take effect until the bills are passed,” Keith said. The administration is currently formulating its FY14 budget submission and in conversations we had both in Washington with locally here in New Mexico, LANL could use roughly $275 million to keep accelerating their remediation activities.”

Making a surprise visit to the coalition meeting was Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M.

“We all need to come together as a family for the future of New Mexico,” Luján said.