What’s at Stake at Tuesday’s WQCC Hearing on HOPE and CCNS Standing?
The health of the Rio Grande watershed in the area of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is at stake. The protection of the 3,000 square mile sole source drinking water aquifer is at stake. LANL has contaminated it with hexavalent chromium and the plume is migrating towards the Pueblo de San Ildefonso, the Rio Grande, and the Buckman wells and diversion facility. Every drop of water is precious and must be free from contamination. Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE) and CCNS work to ensure that every drop is protected. https://shuffle.do/projects/honor-our-pueblo-existance-h-o-p-e , http://nuclearactive.org/
The NGOs have challenged the groundwater discharge permit for LANL’s Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility that handles, treats and stores hazardous waste. The permit, called DP-1132, was issued under the New Mexico Water Quality Act. NM Stat § 74-6-1 (2021). However, the New Mexico Legislature excluded hazardous waste facilities from the Act’s jurisdiction. NM Stat § 74-6-12 (2021)
The Legislature understood that the very nature of hazardous waste requires additional regulation, beyond what is covered by the Water Quality Act. They understood that the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as implemented in New Mexico by the Hazardous Waste Act, was the correct law to address the operations of facilities such as the RLWTF. NM Stat § 74-4-1 (2021). Examples of those operations include special regulation of the tanks that treat hazardous liquid wastes and the pipelines that transport the liquids, among many other precautionary regulations.
Moreover, RCRA and the Hazardous Waste Act have the force of federal law, and they preempt the operation of the New Mexico Water Quality Act, which is a state law. So the effect of the Hazardous Waste Act must be recognized.
HOPE and CCNS argue the correct regulatory structure for the RLWTF is the Hazardous Waste Act. The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) is the state’s water pollution control agency. Its next monthly meeting is Tuesday, May 9th at which the standing of HOPE and CCNS to challenge DP-1132 will be heard. https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D165936752
Please raise your voice either in person or virtually on or before Tuesday, May 9th, beginning at 9 am in Room 322 of the New Mexico State Capitol. https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D165936752
How did we get here? In May 2022, the New Mexico Environment Department issued a groundwater discharge permit for the RLWTF under the Water Quality Act. In June, CCNS and HOPE requested a review of the permit by the WQCC.
In March 2023, LANL challenged whether HOPE and CCNS have standing to request the permit review. In April, the WQCC’s Hearing Officer recommended the Commission deny standing to HOPE and CCNS. https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/, scroll down to WQCC 22-21: CCNS and HOPE Petition for Review of NMED Ground Water Discharge Permit DP-1132.
Lindsay A. Lovejoy, Jr. represents HOPE and CCNS. We need your support.
Did You Know about these Opportunities to Get Involved?
- Friday, May 5th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.
- Monday, May 8th – Last Day for DIRECT ACTION, a solo exhibition by Mexican artist PEDRO REYES at Site Santa Fe. Reyes explores New Mexico’s unique and local nuclear history with the nuclear industry. https://sitesantafe.org/exhibition/pedro-reyes/
- Monday, May 8th and Tuesday, May 9th – EM-LA to Hold Two Public Meetings in Preparation for Environmental Assessment for the Chromium Interim Measures and Final Remedy
Public scoping meetings are scheduled for the following dates and times:
May 8, 2023: In-person meeting at Cities of Gold Hotel and Casino Ballroom, 10 Cities of Gold Road,
Pojoaque, New Mexico at 6:00 P.M. MDT
May 9, 2023: Virtual meeting at 1:30 P.M. MDT
To join via Video through your computer or smart device, go to
To join via Audio (participants will hear the presentation but not see it), call +1 669-444-9171 US
and enter the Meeting ID: 812 5413 6625 and Passcode: 954246
Public comments must be received by June 6, 2023.
Other options for submitting comments:
Email: EMLA-NEPA@em.doe.gov (preferred)
Please use the subject line: Chromium EA Scoping Comment
NEPA Compliance Officer
U.S. DOE Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office
1200 Trinity Drive, Suite 400
Los Alamos, NM 87544
- Tuesday, May 9th at 9 am – WQCC Monthly Meeting at NM State Capitol, Room 322, Santa Fe. See today’s Update. WebEx and call in info at: https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D165936752
- Tuesday, May 9th from and Thursday, May 11th from 6:30 to 8:50 pm – two scoping meetings for a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Sandia National Laboratories. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/04/21/2023-08459/national-nuclear-security-administration-notice-of-intent-to-prepare-a-site-wide-environmental
- In-person Meeting: Tuesday, May 9, 2023; 6:30–8:50 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time, preceded by a poster session starting at 5:30 p.m., at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial, Museum & Conference Center, 1100 Louisiana Blvd. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108. Listen-in for May 9: https://www.zoomgov.com/j/1618755753, toll-free 833–568–8864, Meeting ID: 161 875 5753.
- Virtual Meeting: Thursday, May 11, 2023, 6:30–8:50 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time, Listen-in and Participation for May 11: https://www.zoomgov.com/j/1608652437, toll-free 833–568–8864, Meeting ID: 160 865 2437.
- Further information about the public scoping meetings, including any changes in dates, places, or times, will be posted on the NNSA NEPA Reading Room website at: https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room.
- Monday, May 15th – Los Alamos National Laboratory – Comments due to the NM Environment Department about the draft permit about a New Container Storage Area to TA-60. https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl-permit/ , scroll down to Permit News – March 13, 2023 Or: https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D166014057
- Tuesday, May 23rd – White Sands Missile Range – Comments due to the NM Environment Department about the draft Hazardous Waste Permit. https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/wsmr/ , scroll down to Draft Permit and March 24, 2023 entry.
Tags: CCNS, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Department of Energy, DOE, DP-1132, Hearing Officer, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, HOPE, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Nuclear Security Administration, New Mexico Environment Department, New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act, New Mexico Water Quality Act, New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, NMED, NNSA, Petitioners’ Comments on Hearing Officer’s Report on Standing, Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility, RLWTF, WQA limitation § 74-6-12 NMSA 1978, WQCC