A copy of the letter from Governor Richardson to The Honorable Samuel W.
The Honorable Samuel W. Bodman
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Mr. Secretary-Designate:
Congratulations on your nomination to become Secretary of the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE). It is a position I was privileged to hold, and
one which gave me great satisfaction; I am confident you will enjoy your
tenure there. Your previous experiences will serve you well in your new
responsibilities as leader of this most important agency.
As Governor of New Mexico, I have been actively engaged in issues concerning
DOE's award of the contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Because of the strong relationship between the Lab and my State, I recently
went to California to meet with the University of California (UC) Board of
Regents, to encourage the University to enter the competition for the
contract to continue its management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
I told the Regents that the future of Los Alamos would best be served by DOE
issuing the new contract to the University because of its unmatched
scientific and technological quality.
New Mexico's economy, and particularly that of northern New Mexico, is
heavily dependent on the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and it is therefore
important to New Mexico, as it is to our country, that the Laboratory
continue to be an excellent scientific institution, bringing the best
scientific and technical talent to bear on solving problems of the highest
national security import.
As I said to the Regents, it is the high quality of the Lab's scientific and
technical staff that makes the Lab great. As a Nation, we must not do
anything that will drive away, or make it difficult to recruit that talent.
The continuation of these benefits will ensure that the Laboratory avoids
massive retirements by continuing to be an attractive place to work, and
continues to attract the best scientific and technical workforce possible.
The continuation of these benefits, as a matter of equity, also will ensure
that the Laboratory's retirees, most of whom live in New Mexico, continue to
receive the pension and post retirement health benefits they always have
expected for the past 62 years.
Frankly, I was disappointed to find that the Draft Request for Proposal
(RFP) contained language undermining our expectation that existing pension
and post-retirement benefits would be retained in any future contract. I
was disappointed, as well as many others, because Secretary Abraham had
promised that this would be done in April of 2003. While I am sure this was
Secretary Abraham's intent, it is nevertheless the case that clearly
inconsistent language was included in the Draft RFP.
Because of this, I request that you give this issue your personal attention
to ensure that this commitment, that you ratified at your confirmation
hearing, gets incorporated into DOE's final contract for the management of
Los Alamos National Laboratory in a way that any bidder will be required and
able to meet, just as the University of California (pursuant to DOE's
direction) has done since the Laboratory's inception in 1943. I also expect
that the final contract will require that any winning contractor continue to
be good community leaders, assisting in community and economic development,
as UC is now doing.
Again, congratulations on your nomination to become Secretary of Energy; the
Department of Energy is very important to America's security and its
economic and scientific future. I wish you well and look forward to working
with you in your new post. Please be assured that you can count on me to do
whatever I can do to help DOE advance the contributions that our State's DOE
laboratories and facilities can make to the future of our country.