WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Luján issued the following joint statement on the report by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Accident Investigation Board, analyzing the direct cause of the of the Feb. 14, 2014, radiological incident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP):
"According to today's report, a series of critical failures of leadership at every level led to the very serious accident and release that put numerous New Mexicans at risk, shuttered WIPP for over a year, and have already cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
"New Mexico is unique in the nation as the only state that houses an underground repository for transuranic waste. New Mexicans understand the incredible value of the contributions that Los Alamos National Laboratory and WIPP make to science, national security and our state's economy. But with our unique acceptance of such facilities, we also have high expectations of the Department of Energy and its contractors that they will go above and beyond to ensure our communities are not endangered. This report makes clear that the DOE and its contractors failed to keep faith with the people of New Mexico.
"We will continue doing everything we can to ensure resources are available to complete the cleanup work at Los Alamos and safely reopen WIPP.”