Group threatens lawsuit against lab

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The suit will be filed later this month if the NNSA does not agree to meet requirements of the NEPA

By Garrison Wells

A Santa Fe citizen’s group is threatening to file a lawsuit to force Los Alamos National Laboratory to comply with requirements of a federal environmental act as it moves toward building a $3.4 billion annex for plutonium warhead cores.

Los Alamos Study Group in a written statement said it will file the lawsuit in federal district court later this month if the National Nuclear Safety Administration does not agree to meet requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  

Jennifer Wagner, NNSA spokeswoman said the NNSA does not comment on potential lawsuits.

However, she added that the agency “has initiated the process of preparing a supplemental analysis for the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility.”

“NNSA takes its commitments to environmental stewardship and the state of New Mexico very seriously,” she said.

The Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility was initially planned to replace the aging Chemistry and Metallurgy Research building at the lab.

According to the group, it would be the largest public infrastructure project in the history of New Mexico since the highway system was built.

The estimated cost of the proposed building has jumped tenfold over the last eight years, the group said and the completion has been delayed 11 years.

Among environmental impacts, the group contends that technical areas in Los Alamos will be affected by construction and local residents will be affected by “lack of access, displaced workers.”

“Tens of thousands of heavy trucks will need to traverse local highways,” the group said in its statement. “Bypass roads are being studied. Several ancillary structures are required.”

“To top it off, this facility will create only a tiny fraction of the rewarding jobs and careers that would be created if the same amount of funds were used to leverage private or state and local investments in renewable energy production, or used to improve energy efficiency and security in homes and businesses across the state,” Study Group Director Greg Mello said. “Many of the specialized workers will need to come from out of state and will be temporary.”