N3B’s Lester Patton addresses a community meeting on Los Alamos National Laboratory legacy waster Thursday evening at Santa Fe Community College. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Frazer Lockhart, N3B’s Regulatory and Stakeholder Interface Manager, responds to questions submitted at Thursday evening’s community meeting on Los Alamos National Laboratory legacy waste. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hanson chats with Steve Hoffman, Deputy Manager of the Department of Energy Environmmental Management Los Alamos Field Office following Thursday evening at Santa Fe Community College. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office personnel and LANL legacy waste cleanup contractor N3B officials held the fourth in a series of meetings Thursday evening at Santa Fe Community College to discuss community engagement in the cleanup process.
EM-LA Field Office Deputy Manager Steve Hoffman told members of the public that EM-LA is focused on the mission which is divided into solid waste cleanup and soil and water cleanup.
“Everything we do is influenced by safety, efficiency and transparency. The safety of our workers, our environment and our public is paramount,” he said.
Hoffman said efficiency is important because the project uses taxpayer funding and it’s important for EM-LA to spend it in an efficient way. He said principally that’s accomplished through technological advances and getting the team to work a little more effectively on the ground.
“Our contractor N3B has been with us for about a year and a half and they already have a battle rhythm and demonstrated performance in finding efficiency and I have no doubt that they are going to find more as the rest of their contract transpires,” he said.
Hoffman noted that EM-LA partners with the stakeholders at all levels. He said he and many of his colleagues live in Santa Fe, Espanola and Northern New Mexico communities.
‘So it is important to us that we get this right by getting together to see what our values are, where our priorities, are as we accomplish this mission to clean up the waste, finish the mission and move on,” he said.
N3B Executive Officer Joe Legare said the company’s slogan is “Clean up the environment and protect our future” and that it is important to the EM-LA, N3B and members of the community to collaborate together on important cleanup decisions that affect the future for everyone living in the community.
“We do this because process is important and we all live here and we want to be a part of it. We are all together and if we collaborate and understand all the opportunities, all the constraints and liabilities and it helps us make better decisions,” Legare said.
Community members also heard a presentation from Dave Nickless of EM-LA on the mission and structure of the cleanup project and Lester Patton discussed the cleanup project at Technical Area 21 off DP Road. Juan Garcia, who has worked at LANL since he left high school 20 years ago, spoke about his job and the culture of safety involved.
Frazer Lockhart, N3B’s Regulatory and Stakeholder Interface Manager addressed the process EM-LA and N3B are going through to engage public participation. He outlined the principle of value-based decisions and how the information gathered at the four public meetings to date has been recorded and is available online to anyone interested in viewing it. He said workshops will begin in the communities in October and that N3B is seeking participation in those.
“It’s not a one or two-hour meeting probably – it’s a little more dedication of time. We hope we can get enough folks who are passionate about our cleanup to help us and really contribute their values to that effort. After that, what the program looks like, where the meetings are held, what the topics are, what the focus is, is really going to depend upon what we’re getting back from all of you,” he said.