January 7, 2011
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This week's news:
Burning of Hazardous Waste Allowed at
New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron
Curry reversed his prohibition of open burning at Los
Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) near the completion
of his term, which ended on December 31.
On November 30, Curry prohibited open burning of
hazardous waste at LANL as part of his Final Order,
the culmination of the three and one-half year public
permitting process. www.nmenv.state.nm.us/hwb/lanlperm.html
Soon thereafter, the Department of Energy (DOE) and
LANL filed a motion for reconsideration of the
decision. Curry allowed the other parties to the
permit hearing to file papers stating their position.
CCNS, and other non-governmental organizations that
participated in the hearing, as well as the
Environment Department, opposed the reconsideration.
During the permitting process, the Secretary is not
involved in any of the proceedings until he or she
makes the final decision.
LANL then filed their reply, focusing on the
arguments of the Environment Department. Curry sided
with DOE and LANL stating that the Applicants had
"shown good cause" and allowed for the open burning
issue to be sent back to the Hazardous Waste Bureau.
He did not, however, set a timeline for the Applicants
to submit their revised application. He left it up to
the Hazardous Waste Bureau and the Applicants to set
up a schedule. The parties who participated in the
hearing and the 1,400 people who made public comments
in opposition to open burning practices expect to be
involved in the new process.
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