June 15, 2017
June 15, 2017; Santa Fe, New Mexico: The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) hosted its regular Board Meeting last Friday, June 9, 2017 in the Española Council Chambers. The meeting focused its discussion on the efforts of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Small Business Program Office and how it supports local contractors to do business with LANL and other federal programs. The Board also received a presentation on the difference of nuclear waste classifications and jurisdictions from Department of Energy Environmental Management (DOE-EM) to National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Los Alamos Field Office (NA-LA).
The meeting began on an inspirational note with two graduates of Española Valley High School, Selena Valencia and Jasmine Vigil, both pursuing higher education and working for Los Alamos National Lab as summer interns. Each student spoke about their unique positions at LANL and the opportunities they feel privileged to experience at the Lab. Coalition member, Mayor of Española Alice Lucero, commented on the need for “…more youth to pursue their education and return to the Valley. We are grateful to LANL Community Partnerships Office for coordinating this important opportunity for New Mexico students”. RCLC Chair, Rio Arriba County Commissioner Barney Trujillo, added that, “…the increasing number of New Mexico youth returning to our communities to work with LANL further exemplifies the value that LANL brings to our communities”.
The LANL Small Business Program Office (SBPO) exists to provide a “strong institutional commitment to small business subcontracting” and helps businesses navigate the process of working with LANL. Program Manager, Chris Fresquez, discussed the foundations of the LANL business program and how the SBPO facilitates a variety of relationships between LANL and suppliers, including the matching of contractors with small businesses to encourage business exchange and revenue from otherwise untapped sources. In Fiscal Year 2016, the Small Business Program increased support services and LANL subcontracts within categories of Small Business at 64.8%, Small Disadvantaged Business at 25.2%, Women-Owned Small Business at 15.8%, HUBZone Small Business at 4.6%, Veteran-Owned Small Business at 5.9%, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business at 1.9%. The Coalition anticipates further collaboration with SBPO to promote opportunities for local subcontractors and build a strong workforce pipeline for a thriving Northern New Mexico.
Pete Maggiore, Deputy Assistant Manager of LANL Site Office and Steve Hoffman, EM-LA’s Deputy Manager co-presented on the difference in how waste is managed at LANL between the office of Environmental Management and the NNSA / NA-LA. Hoffman explained that DOE-EM is responsible for overseeing Legacy waste, defined as nuclear waste generated pre-1999 and primarily accumulated during the Cold War era. The NNSA is responsible for all newly generated nuclear waste, or ‘NewGen’ waste, that is comprised of waste created post-1999 through present day.
Both agencies work closely within the Management Steering Committee, which includes leadership from NA-LA, EM-LA and Los Alamos National Security (LANS) to provide updates on challenges, successes, and important developments. “The NA-LA and EM-LA represent two field offices with two separate prime contractors, however, LANL is one highly integrated site… subsequently, both agencies work together to minimize overlap and duplicity, with a commitment to program efficiency”, said Maggiore. The Coalition asked that the NA-LA be more proactive in updating the RCLC on their storage activities and assurance to local communities that the waste is being managed properly, maintaining the health and safety of the area and to ensure it makes its way out of LANL to a final destination away from LANL.
In celebration of Regional Coalition History Month, members of the Board honored RCLC founder, Sharon Stover, and former Board member, Steve Girrens for their dedication and service to support regional economic development and environmental remediation within communities surrounding LANL. Although the honorees were not present at the meeting, the Coalition has invited Stover and Girrens to the September Coalition Board meeting to be honored in person.
The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities’ next Board meeting, open to the public, will occur on Friday, July 14th from 9:00-11:00am at Los Alamos County Municipal Building, 1000 Central Avenue, Los Alamos, NM.