N.M. Senators: Senate approves key spending bill that contains funding for N.M. labs, water projects

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall reported that the Senate has approved legislation that provides funding for New Mexico’s two national laboratories, and to a variety of key water-related projects.

The Senate’s version of the 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill cleared the Senate Wednesday night. A House-Senate panel will convene in the coming weeks to finalize the bill.

The measure contains $30 million for upgrades to the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) – the only machine in the country that can do a series of diagnostic tests to ensure our nuclear stockpile is safe and secure. The White House had recommended zeroing out funding for these necessary upgrades. But the New Mexico senators have been weighing in with both the Obama administration and Senate appropriators writing the Energy and Water spending bill, and are pleased that they are winning support for the facility.

“This bill provides strong support to our labs. I’m particularly glad we were able to secure $30 million needed to upgrade LANSCE,” Bingaman said. “The bill also funds significant water projects in our state. We will be working hard in the coming weeks to ensure New Mexico’s needs are met in the final bill.”

“I am pleased that, in addition to funding critical water infrastructure projects for New Mexico, funding for LANSCE was included in the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill. This recognizes the facility’s importance not only to our security but also to scientific research,” said Udall. “Senator Bingaman and I have been working to ensure that our nation will continue to benefit from the dual-use capabilities of LANSCE and with each step in this process we have moved closer to achieving that goal.”

The bill also contains $6.47 billion for National Nuclear Security Administration, which funds the stockpile stewardship program performed by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.

Other lab related funding

Los Alamos

• $204 million for environmental cleanup, up $15 million above the President’s request to help meet New Mexico consent order milestones

• $98 million for Chemistry and Metallurgy Facility Replacement Project, up $43 million over President’s budget request

Waste isolation pilot project

• $234.3 million for WIPP. The additional funding will upgrade and replace safety systems at WIPP.

Misc.

• $750, 000 for the Center of Excellence and Hazardous Waste Materials at Carlsbad for advance biofuels research

• $750,000 for technology transfer and commercialization at Department of Energy laboratories performed by the Technology Ventures Corporation in Albuquerque

Water funding

Animas-La Plata Project - $54,188,000 to continue progress on the project components that benefit New Mexico, including the Navajo Nation.

Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program – $160,000 for continued data collection relating to ecological health in the Middle R