Judge: Lawsuit over federal nuke lab cleanup can go forward

July 13, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge is allowing part of a watchdog group’s lawsuit over cleanup efforts by Los Alamos National Laboratory to move ahead.

The court has denied a motion by Los Alamos National Security LLC and U.S. Energy Department, a co-defendant, to dismiss Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s claims for civil penalties.

In court documents filed Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Herrera said both agencies failed to prove violations won’t happen again.

Herrera did, however, drop part of the complaint asking for injunctive relief.

A spokesman for the laboratory declined to comment Friday.

NukeWatch first filed a complaint in May 2016.

The group says the defendants committed 13 violations when fulfilling a 2005 cleanup agreement with state officials.

The New Mexico Environment Department had argued a new agreement made in 2016 invalidated the 2005 one, making the lawsuit moot.

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