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RCLC: Op-Ed On Upcoming LANL M&O Contract

on December 13, 2017 - 9:22am
RCLC Executive Director Andrea Romero
By RCLC Executive Director Andrea Romero, and
RCLC Administrative Manager Scarlet Rendleman

NNM Communities United on Issues Regarding Next LANL Contractor

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) persists as the largest job supplier in Northern New Mexico, generating the greatest economic impact throughout the region.

RCLC Administrative Manager Scarlet Rendleman

The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC), has been closely following the process and progress on naming the next LANL manager and operator (M&O), overseeing 10-12,000 jobs and a plethora of duties to the National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Energy.

The NNSA is just 10-months away from a new Prime Contractor taking over the responsibility of the management and operations of LANL on Oct. 1, 2018.   

While safety and security of all employees and contractors is, and should be, the highest priority to the oncoming Contractor, the RCLC monitors and engages in LANL efforts beyond daily activities, looking closely at its overall impact on our communities, especially in areas of economic and environmental impact. Northern New Mexico is heavily economically and politically dependent upon the Laboratory’s success. The current structure of LANL’s M&O Contract provides healthy tax contributions to State and local communities and superb philanthropic investments that show positive effects throughout our region. The RCLC views these two issues among the highest priorities for the NNM region.

The choice of the right LANL Contractor is palpable for NNM. The RCLC has been working to preserve gross receipts tax (GRT) from both Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, providing over $200 million in revenues while NM suffers a deficit. The current law on the books would prevent the State from being able to collect on those funds should a non-profit entity apply and be selected for the next M&O Contract. The RCLC is working diligently at the NM Legislature to ensure this taxation law can be changed to preserve the revenues to the State and local communities from Lab operators.  
Moreover, moving beyond technical capacity, the next Contractor should be focused on community commitment. The communities surrounding LANL are indeed the primary customer to safety and environmental protection, and benefit through the existence of the Lab. With the myriad needs of Northern New Mexico, LANL can continue to have a meaningful impact by amplifying economic development, educational and workforce opportunities, and community giving through a strong Community Commitment Plan (CCP). The RCLC leadership wants to enact a vetted plan that includes interests of all NNM communities and stakeholders.  
We ask that the next Prime Contractor commit a minimum $3 million per year to ensure these formerly established and essential programs continue to thrive, with a collaborative mindset, engaging communities to envision the future of our region. Given the NNSA has mandated the M&O to provide a measurable community commitment goal, the RCLC and regional stakeholders are developing a Community Commitment Plan rooted in tackling NNM’s fundamental goals and interests. The Coalition requests the oncoming Prime Contractor to discuss the potential adoption of our CCP to ensure the overall success of the Contractor’s tenure at LANL.
The achievements of Los Alamos National Laboratory add a tremendous economic, social, and educational value throughout the region. We call on the next M&O Contractor to work directly with RCLC and other community leadership to ensure the integrity, quality, and efficacy of community commitment continues without interruption, and that ample investment is made to advance the efforts developed in this past decade. In the collective interest of the region, NNM communities look forward to partnering in the work of the oncoming Prime Contractor to help achieve its management, operations, and community commitment goals in the best way possible.
About the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC): For six years, the RCLC has strongly advocated on behalf of the growth and maintenance of a talented workforce pipeline to ensure LANL operations support regional economic stability and development. The Coalition has set goals and priorities for community commitment to be upheld by the DOE with regards to the next Managing & Operating (M&O) Contract at LANL. As host communities to LANL’s mission, Northern New Mexico endures a number of challenges, including the potential stagnation of our populations and perhaps even lost additional business opportunities due to LANL’s mission. Our collective voice advocates on behalf of the best possible outcomes due to LANL’s activities, particularly those in environmental cleanup, economic development, increased educational opportunities, and advocacy of such.
The 2017 Board of Directors includes Chair, Mayor Javier Gonzales, City of Santa Fe; Vice-Chair, Commissioner Barney Trujillo, Rio Arriba County; Treasurer, Commissioner Henry Roybal, Santa Fe County; Secretary, Councilor Chris Chandler, Los Alamos County; Mayor Alice Lucero, City of Española; Councilor Darien Fernández, Town of Taos; Commissioner Mark Gallegos, Taos County; Representative Ron Lovato, Ohkay Owingeh; and Lt. Governor Ward Yeppa, Pueblo of Jemez.
To access the RCLC and regional stakeholder Community Commitment Plan, visit: Follow the RCLC on Twitter and visit for updates on quarterly meetings as well as environmental cleanup and regional economic development efforts related to LANL.