March 19, 2019

Udall Welcomes Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Shelby to Los Alamos National Lab

As senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Udall has for years secured significant increases in funding for NM’s labs, DOE facilities


WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, welcomed U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to New Mexico for a visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). During their visit, Udall and Shelby toured the facilities and met with employees to receive updates about the cutting-edge national security, energy, and other science and engineering projects currently being worked on at the lab. Yesterday, Udall and Shelby toured Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Udall has long fought to ensure that New Mexico’s national laboratories receive the resources they need to continue their vitally important scientific and national security work.Udall has also championed efforts to keep workers safe at both Sandia and Los Alamos national labs. 

New Mexico’s national laboratories are a core part of the federal government’s national nuclear security complex, and are also leaders in the development of advanced energy, cybersecurity, and other leading-edge science and engineering missions to benefit the country. In addition to their substantial contributions to scientific advancement and national security, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories and their employees play a central role in the community and the economy of New Mexico. Today’s visit is significant as Senator Shelby chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which provides annual funding to federal agencies, including DOE and the national labs. Udall also hosted the former Chairwoman of the Committee, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), in October 2015. 

“New Mexico’s national labs are national jewels, and our visit today showcased the groundbreaking work being done by the experts at Los Alamos and Sandia to bolster our defense programs, develop clean energy, and pioneer innovation – all while energizing our state’s economy,” said Udall. “Our labs are critical to advancing and protecting our nation's security and environment, and are important parts of their communities and drivers of our state’s economy. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to have fought for strong funding to make sure that LANL continues to modernize New Mexico’s economy and stay on the cutting-edge of scientific research. I am pleased that Chairman Shelby was able to see firsthand the incredible work happening at LANL and Sandia, and I’ll keep working with him and other members on a bipartisan basis to provide our national labs with the resources necessary to successfully carry out their missions and address the world’s most pressing challenges, from nuclear security to climate change.” 

Udall secured major investments for New Mexico’s national labs and Department of Energy programs in the fiscal year 2019 Appropriations bill, including: 

— National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) – which funds both Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs, and the Albuquerque NNSA facility: received an over $500 million increase to $15.23 billion for fiscal year 2019 compared to the previous 2018 Fiscal Year. The FY19 figure represents a 3.8% increase over FY2018 and over 17% higher than the NNSA’s budget for 2017, which was set at $12.94 billion.  Of that total, $1.93 billion is dedicated to defense nuclear nonproliferation activities.

 Sandia National Lab: Provided $2.298B in DOE funding for fiscal year 2019, a $78 million increase from fiscal year 2018 and $382 million over FY 2017. 

— Los Alamos National Lab: Provided $2.405B in DOE funding for fiscal year 2019, an $84 million increase from fiscal year 2018 and $160 million over FY 2017.

In addition to their annual DOE funding, both labs receive significant amounts of additional funding that can vary by year for performing work for other agencies via strategic partnerships.  The total funding for Sandia and Los Alamos for Fiscal Year 2018 were $3.64 billion and $2.66 billion respectively. 

— MESA: $22.5 million to complete the equipment upgrade of the Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) facility. The MESA Complex at Sandia represents the center of Sandia's investment in microsystems research, development, and prototyping activities for secure and radiation hardened electronic components that support national security. 

— NNSA Construction: $48 million in funding to build the new Albuquerque NNSA Complex to house about 1,200 employees. This funding comes following Congressional authorization and $98 million in FY 2018 construction funding secured by Udall and Heinrich for this new facility in New Mexico for NNSA employees.

— Technology Transfer:  $10 million for the Office of Technology Transition, an increase of $4 million over FY2018.  This office was established in 2015 and helps to expand the commercial impact of the Department of Energy's portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities. The office works with the National Laboratories and other stakeholders to identify high value technological innovations and discoveries, and to inject resources to move them rapidly to commercialization thus enhancing U.S. competitiveness and energy technological leadership. The report also includes language first introduced by Senator Udall in the ATTAIN Act to improve cost sharing and public-private partnerships supported by the Technology Commercialization Fund.

— Advanced Biofuels: The bill sets aside $32 million for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to provide critical investments in research to develop advanced drop-in biofuels from algae. New Mexico labs and universities have been significant past beneficiaries of this research program.