Sunday, March 28, 2010

NMED Sec. Curry Asks DOE for Help

In a letter, recently, to Department of Energy headquarters, New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry forcefully suggested that DOE remove the National Nuclear Security Administration from the chain-of-command, between NMED and DOE's Environmental Management unit, whenever issues regarding the cleanup of so-called legacy wastes were concerned.

Sec. Curry has previously expressed anger and frustration with NNSA. At a 7-30-08 meeting of the Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board, in Santa Fe, Sec. Curry proposed that NNMCAB support his demand that DOE and NNSA not fund any new programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory until first making up for accumulated shortfalls in the multi-year budgets, assigned for the cleanup of legacy wastes. The size of these budgets had been stipulated in the 2002 Consent Order, agreed to by the State of New Mexico and DOE, and were legally binding upon the parties. In fact, the NNMCAB passed a resolution (#2008-09) supporting Sec. Curry and submitted it to DOE for their approval. But, DOE did not approve!

In spite of substantial economic benefits that NNSA/DOE, and their predecessor federal agencies, have brought to New Mexico, it is necessary to keep in mind the legacy of toxic waste that 60 years of nuclear weapons operations has left behind, especially at LANL. Now, 21 years after the end of the cold-war, we need to dispose of these wastes, once-and-for-all. I am pleased to recall here that Lieut. Gov. Diane Denish has declared herself to be in favor of vigorously enforcing the Consent Order.

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