Regional Coalition Discusses Consent Order Negotiations with NM Environment Department (NMED) and DOE Environmental Management at Los Alamos (EM-LA)

November 20, 2015


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Regional Coalition Discusses Consent Order Negotiations with NM Environment Department (NMED) and DOE Environmental Management at Los Alamos (EM-LA)

Board members hosted NMED Secretary Ryan Flynn and EM-LA Manager Doug Hintze to receive updates regarding the ongoing negotiations for a revised cleanup consent order

 November 20, 2015; Hernandez, NM: The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) hosted representatives from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the Los Alamos Environmental Management Field Office (EM-LA) to discuss the Consent Order agreement guiding the regulatory environment for cleanup of legacy nuclear waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). NMED Secretary Ryan Flynn gave an overview of the current consent order and expected changes to the upcoming version to be signed, and EM-LA Manager Doug Hintze presented the new campaign approach that will be utilized to clean up legacy waste at LANL.

LANL, EM-LA, and NMED have been operating since 2005 under conditions focused on milestones, deliverables, investigation, and characterization of above- and below-ground waste at LANL. Secretary Flynn stated that a revised consent order would move away from characterizing the environment and focus more on tangible cleanup. The new Consent Order would also  allow for “reevaluation of priorities and consideration of funding realities” instead of the prescriptive sampling and analysis of contaminated sites. Secretary Flynn stated that NMED would continue to meet with regional stakeholders, including the community leaders of the RCLC, to solicit input and inform them of the ongoing revisions. A date for the finalization of a revised Consent Order has not yet been determined.

Doug Hintze, new manager at EM-LA, presented a thorough overview of EM-LA’s new campaign approach for the cleanup of legacy waste at LANL. The EM-LA cleanup plan is composed of 14 different campaigns that will focus on the decontamination, decommissioning, and remediation of different Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) on LANL property. The campaigns are prioritized by the risk presented to the environment, and health and safety of the surrounding communities.  Presently, the Hexavalent Chromium plume currently moving in the aquifer beneath Mortendad Canyon, sharing the border between LANL and San Ildefonso Pueblo, is the primary campaign focus.

It is the RCLC’s interest to see a consent order put into effect as early as December 2015, though the timeline and negotiation has not been defined by NMED.  The RCLC will stay abreast of any activity related to the negotiation, advocating upon the health and safety of the citizens surrounding LANL.

The next RCLC board meeting will be held on Friday, December 11 in Jemez Pueblo from 1:30-3:30 p.m. For additional information, visit regionalcoalition.org or twitter.com/coalitioninfo.  The Regional Coalition will receive an update on the 1,000+ counts of mismanaged waste that recently came to light at LANL. The meeting is free and open to the public.

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For media inquiries, please contact: Lindi Douglass (806) 584-1076 lindi@jlhmedia.com

ABOUT THE REGIONAL COALITION: The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities is comprised of nine cities, towns, counties and pueblos surrounding the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Founded in 2011, the Regional Coalition works in partnership to ensure national decisions incorporate local needs and concerns. The organization’s focus is environmental remediation, regional economic development and site employment, and adequate funding for LANL. The 2015 Board of Directors includes Chair, Commissioner Barney Trujillo, Rio Arriba County; Vice-Chair, Mayor Javier Gonzales, City of Santa Fe; Secretary/Treasurer, Councilor Kristin Henderson, Los Alamos County; Mayor Alice Lucero, City of Española, Commissioner Henry Roybal, Santa Fe County; Andrew Gonzales, Town of Taos; Commissioner Mark Gallegos, Taos County; Governor Earl Salazar, Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh; and Governor Raymond Loretto, Pueblo of Jemez; http://regionalcoalition.org.