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Morning Word: Lab Cleanup Could Cost $4 Billion

September 16, 2016, 7:30 am
Lab Cleanup Will Take Decades
Cleaning up decades of hazardous waste at Los Alamos National Labs could take two decades and $4 billion according to a new report from the lab’s own Environmental Management Office.
It lists 955 sites that could contain contamination and says 5,000 cubic meters of legacy waste remain at the lab — half the total that workers began cleaning up 25 years ago.

The Legacy Waste Cleanup Lifecycle Cost Estimate follows a new agreement in June between the lab, the state Environment Department and the U.S. Department of Energy for cleanup guidelines. A previous cleanup order expired in December with several missed deadlines.
Officials Hope to Attract More High Tech Firms
On his own timeline, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg is talking about the firm’s decision to build its new data center in Los Lunas, “and to continue building the massive infrastructure that connects our global community." State economic development executives hope this week’s announcement by Facebook attracts other high tech companies to the state.

Kennedy: Mental Health Care Not Equal to Health Care
Patrick Kennedy, who has struggled with his own demons, told a crowd at the Pete Domenici Conference in Las Cruces that more parity is needed in mental health care or the illness will continue to suffer from stigmas and under treatment.
Kennedy has been stumping loudly for the government to enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, co-sponsored by New Mexico’s former Sen. Pete Domenici, for whom the conference is named. That legislation is supposed to require insurers to make access to mental health treatment no more restrictive than for physical ailments. It says that “if you provide it for the cancer patient, if you provide it for the heart disease patient, if you provide it for the diabetic or any other physical condition … you must do the same for [the] those suffering from chronic illnesses of the brain.”
Universities Told to Seek Federal Grant Money
At the same time that Moodys is considering lowering New Mexico research universities credit scores, which are tied to the state’s overall economy and credit, New Mexico’s Secretary of Higher Education Barbara Damron, also speaking at the Domenici conference, is recommending the school’s retool and build a future less reliant on state funding. Damron suggests they compete harder for federal research money and do a better job helping students graduate on time.

State Exports Continue to Grow
“Exports from New Mexico have increased nearly 3 percent in the first half of 2016 thanks in part to the state’s booming border region around Santa Teresa, according to the state Economic Development Department,” according to the Associated Press. 

New Hampshire Newspaper Endorses Johnson
Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign picked up the support of an unlikely newspaper. The New Hampshire Union Leader says the Libertarian Party tickets is “a bright light of hope and reason” in otherwise “dark times.” It’s the first time in 100 years the Union Leader hasn’t endorsed the Republican Party nominee.

Martinez Campaigns Out of State
Gov. Susana Martinez is on the campaign trail in North Carolina to help Gov. Pat McCrory raise money for his re-election campaign. McCrory has been criticized for signing a bill that discriminates against gay and transgender people. On Thursday, Martinez appeared at a $5,000 a plate policy roundtable with the governor.

Sandia Pueblo Approves Necessary Balloon Landings
Sandia Pueblo officials have reached a new deal with hot air balloonists ahead of next month’s fiesta. Pilots will be allowed to fly over and land on the tribal after all, but they must be at least 200 feet up and only land if necessary.

AG Sues Drug Maker for Deception
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is suing Bristol-Myers Squibb for deceiving people and for failing to disclose Plavix, a drug marketed to prevent strokes and other heart problems, can actually cause internal bleeding and has been proven to be ineffective for a lot of patients.

Update: The first version of Friday's word had Mr. Zuckerburg's first name wrong. Thanks for the emails letting us know.That’s it for this week. Thanks to Charlotte Jusinski for getting up early to copyedit the Morning Word. Have a great weekend.


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