Thursday Evening Roundup

Jun 27, 2013

IG Pushes Los Alamos To Do More On Safety-The Associated Press

Another federal report is criticizing Los Alamos for not doing enough to protect the public from dangerous releases of radiation in the event of wildfires or an earthquake.

An audit released Thursday by the Department of Energy's Inspector General reiterated concerns that watchdogs and a federal oversight board have long expressed about the lab's main plutonium facility -- which sits atop a fault line -- being able to withstand an earthquake. And a major forest fire lapping at the edges of lab property in northern New Mexico two years ago highlighted the dangers of storing on site thousands of barrels of toxic waste.

The audit pushes the lab to move more quickly in securing the plutonium lab. It also asks for more effective fire protection for the barrels, which are scheduled to be removed by the end of next year.

NM High Court Asked To Legalize Gay Marriage-The Associated Press A same-sex couple in Santa Fe is asking the state Supreme Court to decide whether gay marriage is legal in New Mexico.

Lawyers for two Santa Fe men requested on Thursday that the court order the Santa Fe County clerk to issue them a marriage license.

The court didn't immediately decide whether to consider the case.

The couple had filed a lawsuit in district court earlier this month after being denied a marriage license.

Attorney Brian Egolf said the case was being shifted to the Supreme Court to try to get a speedy decision on the same-sex marriage issue.

The lawsuit contends that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the New Mexico Constitution, including its equal protection clause and Equal Rights Amendment prohibiting gender-based discrimination.

Jewell Makes Emotional Pledge To Native Americans-The Associated Press

Sally Jewell made an emotional pledge in her first address to Indian Country as the 51st U.S. Interior secretary, saying she'll help right past wrongs against Native Americans and work with tribes "nation-to-nation" to protect their sovereignty.

Jewell fought back tears and paused to compose herself during remarks Thursday in Reno, Nev., to about 300 delegates of the National Congress of American Indians. The casino-ballroom audience gave her a standing ovation.

The ex-outdoor retail executive from Seattle became secretary in April. She told delegates the U.S. government doesn't have a proud legacy when it comes to upholding promises to native people. She said she cannot "reverse all of that" in four years, but she is determined to make important progress and help tribes become more economically independent.