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Pearce: I Will Ask Tough Questions About Radiation Leak

Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce held a town hall meeting Friday to help New Mexicans get answers on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad.

“I will hold their feet to the fire,” said Pearce.  “In my meetings with Secretary Moniz, and in my conversations with top officials at the Department of Energy, I have strongly voiced New Mexicans’ concerns about the lack of information about WIPP, and they have committed to improving regular and transparent communications with the community.  Friday’s town hall was a productive and frank discussion between top department officials and members of the community, and I expect the Department of Energy to continue with daily updates and straight answers in that same spirit.”

Some of the many questions addressed at the town hall included:

·         Why do the filters at WIPP only filter out 99.97 percent of contaminants?

o   If they filtered out 100%, there would be no ventilation, which is vital to the safety of the facility.  99.97% is as thorough as possible.

·         I’m part of the WIPP family.  Will future funding for jobs and equipment here be protected?

o   WIPP provides a vital service to the nation, and Congressman Pearce as well as officials at WIPP are committed to protecting those jobs.  Staff at WIPP are still receiving paychecks, and the Secretary of Energy has reaffirmed his commitment to protecting those jobs. 

·         What are the next steps?

o   WIPP officials outlined a detailed plan, available here, for moving forward. This includes sending a probe underground in advance of manned entry, and sending well-equipped personnel underground to secure the area.

An audio recording of the full meeting is scheduled to be broadcast tomorrow, Sunday, March 9, at 8:00 am on radio station 740 AM, KATK Carlsbad . 

Congressman Pearce continues to welcome questions on WIPP.  Any New Mexicans who are having trouble getting the answers they need from WIPP or the Department of Energy are encouraged to contact Congressman Pearce for assistance.