2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: cpeo <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Oct 2002 19:01:32 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Lab, DOE to Fight N.M. Over Cleanup
Lab, DOE to Fight N.M. Over Cleanup
By JEFF TOLLEFSON | The New Mexican 10/21/2002

Los Alamos National Laboratory is asking a federal judge to throw out a
state cleanup order and severely limit the state's ability to require
cleanup of a host of contaminants at the laboratory.

The University of California, which contracts with DOE to manage the
laboratory, filed the lawsuit challenging the New Mexico Environment
Department's draft cleanup order along with the state's determination
that pollution at the laboratory might represent an "imminent and
substantial endangerment" to human health or the environment.

The lawsuit also initiates a four-pronged attack on the state's cleanup
authority. If successful, the lawsuit could prevent the state of New
Mexico from requiring cleanup of everything from waste dumps -
containing both hazardous and nuclear materials - to groundwater, canyon
bottoms, explosives sites and such toxins as polychlorinated biphenyls.

"Los Alamos National Laboratory is trying to get out of any kind of
governance whatsoever in the state of New Mexico," said Ruth Prokop, an
attorney in Washington, D.C., who consults for the Los Alamos Study
Group. "Everybody seems to be bowing their heads and ignoring the fact
that this is happening."

For Prokop, a former White House attorney who served as general counsel
of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the lawsuit
represents a substantial threat to state oversight. She notes that DOE
won a lawsuit using similar arguments regarding state regulation of
nuclear materials at a uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Ky.

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