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Delegation Reacts To Doe Announcement

WASHINGTON, DC â?? The Idaho delegation reacted today to the announcement by the Department of Energy (DOE) of delay in the competition process for the new operating contracts at the new Idaho National Laboratory. The new lab will be a combination of INEEL and Argonne West. The Department also announced it will negotiate with BechtelBWXT Idaho, Inc. to extend their current contract through January 31, 2005 â??DOE has notified me that additional time to refine the approach to the clean-up RFP is needed,â?? said Senator Larry Craig. â??While I am disappointed that the turmoil associated with this process is prolonged for the communities of Southeast Idaho, I am at least heartened that none of the costs associated with this delay will come from nuclear energy programs at DOE. It is critical that we build a vital nuclear mission at our lab and nothing can be allowed to interfere with this goal.â?? â??It is important that this action by DOE, like all actions regarding the future of the INEEL, be done with due diligence. These steps all carry with them relationships to future employment, economic development, research missions, and the overall future for the INEEL,â?? said Senator Mike Crapo. â??Idahoâ??s congressional delegation, our governor, and local leaders have all spent many hours working with DOE to see the job is done right. If it takes a little more time to accomplish that, so be it.â?? â??While itâ??s important to me that we move expeditiously to implement the new contract and move forward with the siteâ??s new mission, it is more important to me that this procurement is thorough and well done,â?? said Congressman Mike Simpson. "I would much rather have the DOE take a little extra time to get this procurement done right than have them do it quickly and poorly. This is perhaps the most important component to securing the siteâ??s long-term viability and it is imperative the DOE do whatever it takes, within reason, to get it done right.â?? â??The critically important work being done at the INEEL, and the still larger contribution to Americaâ??s energy security in the siteâ??s future, make the success of this contracting process a high priority,â?? said Congressman C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. â??Sometimes doing things right takes a little longer than weâ??d like, but it should improve the chances that the end result will be in the best interest of the Energy Department, the INEEL and eastern Idaho.â??# # #