Coalition insists no lobbying efforts for CMRR project

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LANL: Board members say they are focused on more clean-up funding

By John Severance

Rev. Holly Beaumont of Santa Fe stood up near the end of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities meeting Friday in Española and asked a question that seemed to be making the rounds in Northern New Mexico.

Apparently, a rumor had been circulating that the coalition has been lobbying lawmakers to restore funding for the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility.

The Obama administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration had made the decision to defer the CMRR project for five years. But there are other house and senate committees that are trying to bring the project back to life.

“So what’s the coalition’s position on CMRR?” she asked.

Moderator David Abelson was quick to respond.

“I said this a few weeks ago,” Abelson said. “The board does not have a position on CMRR. There has been no advocacy in D.C. for it and the board has not even discussed it. The board is in the process of getting more information about CMRR.”

Newly elected coalition chair David Coss, also the Santa Fe mayor, said, “We have lobbied for more cleanup and we are moving on to economic development, but we have never lobbied for CMRR.”

A delegation of New Mexico business leaders is in Washington D.C. today to discuss the importance of Los Alamos National Laboratory to the state’s economy. The delegation was accompanied by Los Alamos County Council Chair Sharon Stover, Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Holsapple and Los Alamos County Deputy Administrator Brian Bosshardt.

The coalition, meanwhile, spent most of the meeting getting organized. It was announced that the MVM Group would take over as executive director of the coalition. Partners, Yasine Mogharreban Armstrong, DeAnza Valencia Sapien and Lillian Montoya-Rael lead the firm. And they came up with the MVM name with the maiden names of the three partners. Montoya-Rael also was on the Washington trip in her role with CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. MVM’s contract with the coalition begins Aug. 1.

The coalition elected Coss to be chair, Espanola mayor Alice Lucero as vice chair and Santa Fe County Commissioner Danny Mayfield as secretary/treasurer.

The board members will spend the next month going over bylaws for the coalition and will entertain a resolution establishing the minimum standards of reasonable notice to the public for all meetings of the coalition. There also was a discussion about options that would go beyond the minimum requirements of the open meetings act.

During early public comment period, Joni Arends of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety in Santa Fe said she was concerned about not getting access to documents referring to coalition business.

Abelson said, “The issue you are raising, we should be able remedy within the next hour. We are going to establish a process that will evolve over time. We are going to look at the bylaws, the minimum standards and we will come back in the next meeting and vote on them.”

The next meeting is scheduled for Rio Arriba County at a time, day and place to be announced.