Udall, Heinrich, Luján Urge DOE to Maximize Local Subcontracting

Letter to DOE Office of Environmental Management requests continued community engagement during transition of cleanup efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján sent a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) strongly encouraging them to maintain requirements from the existing National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) contract that support local community engagement as oversight of legacy environmental cleanup work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) transitions from NNSA to EM. In the letter to acting assistant secretary for environmental management, James "Mark" Whitney, the lawmakers highlighted the critical importance of LANL's subcontracting with local businesses to employment and economic development in Northern New Mexico, and asked that EM maintains each of NNSA's specific contracting requirements that helps maximize economic opportunities for local workers and businesses.

In late September, the Department of Energy announced that Energy Secretary Moniz had directed EM and NNSA to develop a plan to transition legacy environmental cleanup work from NNSA to EM to better align the focus and accountability of cleanup work. The current management and operating contract for LANL includes a number of specific subcontracting provisions and requirements that ensure support for local employment, companies, and communities.

“As [the Department of Energy] takes over management of legacy environmental cleanup work, we ask you to maintain each of NNSA’s specific contracting requirements for local community engagement,” the lawmakers continued. “Ensuring that we keep local businesses and experienced workers fully involved as the cleanup effort continues is critical to supporting the economy of Northern New Mexico.”

The lawmakers outlined specific contracting provisions in the current contract that support the local community and regional economic development. Examples include a requirement that all businesses with subcontracts greater than $5 million are required to include a regional community development plan, the 5 percent pricing preference for subcontractors with a Northern New Mexico presence and the recommendation that contractors suggest how they will participate in community engagement activities in their bids. In addition to maintaining each of these provisions, the lawmakers asked EM to include community engagement as an evaluation criterion for any contract proposals for managing EM work at the Los Alamos site.

October 30, 2014

Mr. James M. "Mark" Whitney

Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management

Department of Energy

1000 Independence Ave SW

Washington, District of Columbia 20585-0113

 

Dear Mr. Whitney:

In light of the Secretary Moniz’s  recent announcement that legacy environmental cleanup work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will soon be overseen by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), we write to strongly encourage EM to maintain all regional requirements from NNSA’s existing prime contract that help maximize economic opportunities for local workers and businesses.

Northern New Mexico communities depend heavily on LANL for employment and regional economic development through the many subcontracts awarded to local companies.  These local subcontractors provide critical support to the lab in a broad variety of areas, including environmental management.  LANL’s subcontracting with local businesses helps to sustain an important technical workforce pool in Northern New Mexico.  Importantly, more than 40% of LANL’s local major subcontractors are involved in EM’s environmental restoration work.  Given the deep interdependence of DOE and the region, we ask you to give careful thought in this transition to maintaining all existing contracts previously awarded by LANS to small businesses in the region that support the cleanup effort.

Under NNSA’s current management and operating (M&O) contract for LANL there are a number of specific subcontracting provisions and requirements that ensure support for local employment, companies, and communities.  For example, all businesses with subcontracts greater than $5 million are required to include a regional community development plan.  The contract also requires that procurement provide a five percent pricing preference for subcontractors who have a Northern New Mexico presence.  These provisions also apply to subcontracts placed through the Supply Chain Management Center.  These unique provisions have incentivized many environmental restoration companies to invest in Northern New Mexico communities.

Finally, the original request for proposal for LANL’s M&O contract required bidders to suggest in their bids how they will participate in community engagement activities.  We ask that EM also include community engagement as an evaluation criterion for any prime contract proposals for managing EM work at the Los Alamos site.  

As EM takes over management of legacy environmental cleanup work, we ask you to maintain each of NNSA’s specific contracting requirements for local community engagement.  Ensuring that we keep local businesses and experienced workers fully involved as the cleanup effort continues is critical to supporting the economy of Northern New Mexico. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Tom Udall

United States Senator


Martin Heinrich

United States Senator

 

Ben Ray Luján

United States Representative