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Mayor’s proposal to remove waste in Los Alamos criticized

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The New Mexican

The head of the Los Alamos Study Group said the recent effort by Santa Fe Mayor David Coss to have all the waste in Los Alamos removed is overly simplistic and hypocritical.

At the Nov. 7 meeting of the Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory Communities, Santa Fe Mayor Coss, in his role as RCLC chairman, presented a draft of a city of Santa Fe resolution that calls for characterization and potential removal of all waste buried at LANL’s Area G nuclear and chemical dump site.

Although much of the recent waste from the weapons plant is being shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, other non-lethal waste that has been used since the mid 1940s has been buried and capped on LANL property.

Los Alamos Study Group Director Greg Mello said the proposal to remove all waste ignores the real issues facing Santa Fe and the communities around LANL, which is how to diversify the region’s economy so it is less dependent on federal dollars going to LANL. And it is difficult to have that debate when Coss and others repeatedly lobby for increased lab spending, Mello said in a Tuesday statement sent to the press argues.

"The resolution is however not realistic or serious and is being advanced for propaganda purposes primarily, without enough thought. It’s a throwaway proposal that dramatically narrows, to the point of absurdity, the economic, social, and environmental issues facing Santa Fe vis-à-vis LANL,” Mello said in the statement.

Coss said last week he plans to move forward and ask the Santa Fe city council for support because the public is asking that the waste be removed.

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