On October 16, 2018, I attended the County Council working session in White Rock.
Doug Hintze, Manager of DOE’s Environmental Management Field Office (DOE EM-LA) and Frazer Lockhart of N3B gave an informative presentation about the clean-up of legacy wastes on Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) land. Last year, DOE EM-LA awarded the cleanup contract to N3B. While facing the challenges of successfully starting up a new company, N3B has also shown their commitment to Los Alamos County and the surrounding community.
One of their challenges was hiring a significant number of skilled and qualified technical staff. With the need for more skilled workers, N3B has already committed a percentage of their funds to local colleges, to promote training programs that prepare students for work on the hill. This commitment meets several of the goals I have been endorsing. First – requiring that companies here on the hill invest in our local economy and our community. Second – companies on the hill should be creating apprenticeships and sponsor training that allows greater hiring opportunities for our citizens, including our high school students.
Mr. Lockhart also spoke on the cleanup of a site contaminated with RDX and their approach to remediating or cleaning up that contamination.
I was very pleased with the presentation. I saw N3B as a welcome business in the community that is working to ensure LANL lands are cleaned up and available for use by the county.
What I was not prepared for was the assault on Mr. Lockhart by the Council, following his presentation. One councilor demanded to know who N3B’s stakeholders were and where N3B was contributing educational monies. That councilor stated that N3B should be providing those monies to Los Alamos County and allowing the County and Council to determine their use.
Another councilor was on the offensive and expressed strong concerns about the RDX site, as though it was N3B’s fault that it existed.
So, why does our Council see fit to attack? The Council’s hostile atmosphere does little more than put a business on the defensive as well as reluctant to give any money to the County.
With or without the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) from Triad LLC (LANL’s new managing and operating contractor) and other LANL contractors, Los Alamos needs to foster positive relationships with new and existing businesses. As N3B has taken on one of LANL’s roles, and is a “For Profit” entity, Los Alamos should recognize that not only does N3B contribute towards our lost GRT, but their investment in education and training demonstrates a strong commitment to our community. Additionally, their mission is to clean up the contamination that we have lived with for so many years. All I see is a positive outcome from our relationship with them.
If the Council and County are so upset by their loss of the GRT, then perhaps they should be looking at ways to trim their spending, instead of assaulting a new business that is here to help us.
If elected to Council, one of my goals will be to foster positive relationships with those businesses that are members of our community and that seek ways they can invest in our County. This includes Triad, N3B, government agencies, businesses contracted by the County, and our own local businesses. We need to make being a business in Los Alamos (and being part of our community) a rewarding experience, not a trial.
Candidate for Los Alamos County Council