Action Packed Public Hearing about Ten-Year Hazardous Waste Permit for LANL Continues

April 9, 2010

The second action packed week of the public hearing for the ten-year Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) begins in Santa Fe on Monday, April 12 at 9 am at the Santa Fe Community College, Jemez Rooms, in Santa Fe. The historic hearing is about the proposed permit of the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), which covers hazardous waste operations at key LANL facilities, including the plutonium facility at Technical Area 55 and the waste dumps at Technical Area 54. It also covers how these facilities will be "closed" at the end of their use, how the groundwater will or will not be protected, and requirements for the Department of Energy to post financial bonds in order to ensure funding will be available for the cleanup and closure work for the facilities.

It is a formal administrative hearing, with opportunities for public comment. The Hearing Officer is Judge Joseph Alarid. The Parties are the Regulator, NMED; the Applicants, DOE and LANL; and non-governmental organizations, Citizen Action New Mexico, CCNS, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Southwest Research and Information Center.

Next week the hearing will take place in three locations: three days in Santa Fe, one day in Española and another in Pojoaque. There will also be opportunities for public comment.

On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, April 12, 14 and 15, the hearing will continue in Santa Fe. CCNS will be presenting our technical case on Wednesday and Thursday about groundwater contamination, the flawed groundwater monitoring system and what needs to be done to correct the problems. Public comment will be heard at 1 pm each day.

On Tuesday, April 13, the formal hearing will be held in Española beginning at 9 am at the Ohkay Owingeh Casino Conference Facility, on Highway 68. The technical case for the establishment of an "Information Repository" in the Española Valley will begin. Marian Naranjo, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, and Sofia Martinez will present technical Testimony. NMED and DOE/LANL will also present their case about this issue. Opportunities for public comment are scheduled for 2 to 4:00 pm and from 6:00 to 6:30 pm, but the Hearing Officer will stay to hear everyone's comments.

On Friday, April 16, the formal hearing will continue in Pojoaque beginning at 9 am at the Cities of Gold Hotel Conference Facility. Public comment runs from 2 to 4 pm and will begin again at 6 until 6:30 pm. If people are present, the Hearing Officer will hear everyone's comments.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, "If you are concerned about LANL operations, it is essential to participate in this process. We must protect our groundwater from LANL contaminants now and in the future and the permit is one avenue to get it done."

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