Pearce: Reprogramming to Allow LANL/WIPP Waste Cleanup to Continue

Press Release

Date: May 15, 2013
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Environment

Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce announced that the House Committee on Appropriations approved the Department of Energy to reprogram funds within its Environmental Management account. The committee's approval is the last hurdle needed to allow the Department of Energy to continue with its cleanup of waste at Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL). After the Los Conchas fire in 2011, which came within four miles of the lab's waste storage facility, a cleanup process began to move 3,706 cubic meters of above-ground transuranic (TRU) waste from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) in Carlsbad.

The cleanup effort is ahead of schedule, and roughly 60 percent complete, but sequestration left a shortfall in the project's 2013 funding. This week, Congressman Pearce sent a letter to Congressman Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, urging him to consider the Department of Energy's request to reprogram funds to ensure the project may continue.

"I am pleased with this decision, which is the only commonsense move for New Mexico's safety and our jobs," said Pearce. "The Los Conchas fire highlighted the importance of moving waste to a successful, safe facility like WIPP, and to date, that cleanup project has shown great success. I would like to thank the Department of Energy, and Congress, for their commitment to the safety and health of New Mexico and the nation by keeping this project a priority."