U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall sent a letter to President Obama today requesting that the administration include federal funding in the Department of Energy's Defense Environmental Cleanup 2014 budget for at least $255 million for cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory and $222 million to operate and maintain the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The president is in the final stages of finalizing his FY 2014 budget, which he will send to Congress in the coming weeks.
"The completion of the cleanup of defense legacy at Los Alamos is an important commitment that Congress and DOE have made to the community and the State of New Mexico, and we believe it should remain a top funding priority for DOE. To make the most efficient use of available resources, the New Mexico Environment Department and DOE agreed to focus environmental priorities on areas that pose the greatest risk, including the removal of the 3,706 cubic meters of above-ground TRU waste from the Area G by June 39, 2014. Environmental protection also remains a high priority, including protection of water resources and monitoring of area groundwater and storm-water runoff flows to the Buckman Direct Drinking Water Diversion on the Rio Grande," the Senators wrote to the President.
Senators Heinrich and Udall also requested funding for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). As the only active facility in the United States that disposes defense-generated transuranic (TRU) waste, WIPP has received and safely disposed of over 80,000 cubic meters of defense TRU waste.
"To continue to meet DOE's cleanup requirements, preserve a high level of safety and compliance, and to maintain vital plant equipment and infrastructure, we believe WIPP will need at least $222, million for fiscal year 2014," continued the Senators in the letter.