Today, on the House floor, Rep. Ben Ray Luján debated his bill to formally authorize funding for existing National Environmental Research Parks (NERPs). National Environmental Research Parks are located at national laboratories across the U.S., including Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The bill has bipartisan support, with cosponsors including Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Brian Baird (D-WA), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). At the conclusion of floor debate, a vote on final passage of the bill was ordered for later this week.
"I am pleased that the House is considering H.R. 2729, a bill that will formally authorize six National Environmental Research Parks at Department of Energy sites across the country, including one in my district at Los Alamos National Laboratory," said Rep. Luján. "Los Alamos National Laboratory includes a landscape of canyons, mesas, mountains, and the Rio Grande--providing a diverse range of ecosystems to explore. The Los Alamos Park conducts ongoing environmental studies on everything from contaminant transport to woodland productivity to long-term climate change effects on the land. These Parks have been a critical resource to the national and global environmental research community for decades, yet they have never had a clearly defined source of support in the Department before. This bill finally addresses this issue and provides important guidance for the Parks' research, development, education, and outreach activities."
Rep. Luján wrote and introduced the legislation, which promotes environmental science programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory by authorizing funding for its NERP as well as for five other NERPs throughout the country. The research conducted at the NERPs, which have existed for decades, produces valuable data that can be used to fight climate change and clean up contaminated sites. With the new authorization and consistent funding, they can expand their research activities. Rep. Luján's legislation authorizes $5,000,000 for each NERP for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2014.