State: LANL, WIPP will face steeper fines
By Patrick Malone, The New Mexican
January 28, 2015
The New Mexico Environment Department is preparing to levy more fines against Los Alamos National Laboratory that would dwarf the already steep penalties the lab faces for its role in last year’s radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, state Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn told lawmakers on Wednesday.
The threat to impose more fines could give the state leverage in ongoing negotiations over the $54.3 million in fines assessed so far against the U.S. Department of Energy and its private contractors that operate LANL and WIPP.
“We were conservative in the fines we assessed. There’s really, from my perspective, very little negotiating room in terms of a downward adjustment of the fines we assessed,” Flynn told The New Mexican after testifying before the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
He said the second round of fines against Los Alamos’ state-issued operating permit could carry amounts much higher than the combined total of the penalties both nuclear sites currently face.
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