Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.
+1 212 318 2000
Europe, Middle East, & Africa
+44 20 7330 7500
+65 6212 1000
By Ari Natter
The Department of Energy may soon begin to lay off or furlough more than 28,000 contract employees in 10 states, according to letters obtained by BNA that were sent to governors warning them of how a nearly $1.9 billion reduction in its budget will affect their states.
The letters, which were sent the week of March 4 to states with a large department presence through DOE labs and other facilities, come on the heels of warnings from the agency that contractors were most likely to bear the brunt of the mandatory federal budget cuts known as sequestration that went into effect March 1.
In Washington state, 4,800 contract employees may be laid off or furloughed, including 2,800 workers at the department's Office of River Protection, which oversees cleanup of radioactive waste at the Hanford site. Hanford is a former plutonium production site for nuclear weapons located on the Columbia River, where new leaks in underground storage tanks were recently discovered.
Among the largest possible layoffs or furloughs are more than 8,200 contract employees at the Energy Department's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and possibly more than 6,100 in California, which is home to Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, according to the letters.
In a letter to New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R), the department said the budget reductions could affect the ability of the state's waste isolation pilot plant to receive hundreds of shipments of radioactive waste, “which could curtail progress on radioactive waste cleanup activities in several states across the nation.”
Other layoffs or furloughs detailed in the letters include 2,100 contract employees at the department's Savannah River site, a nuclear research facility in South Carolina, and 1,750 contract employees in Illinois, which is home to the department's Argonne National Laboratory.
The department also noted possible layoffs or furloughs at Idaho National Laboratory, the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia, the cybersecurity program at the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee, and the department's Nevada national security site.
The layoffs and furloughs, which the letters said could begin as soon as April 1, come as the effects of $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts take hold.
In a separate letter obtained by BNA addressed to contractors and financial assistance recipients, the Energy Department said the cuts could result in modifications to procurement contracts, including negotiating lower prices or not exercising options.
“The Department may also determine it necessary to stop or suspend work, reduce the scope of work, or partially or completely terminate your contract for convenience,” the March 4 letter said. “Additionally, planned contract actions for new work may be re-scoped, delayed, or cancelled depending on the nature of the work and the degree to which it directly supports the agency's mission goals.”
By Ari Natter
Text of the letters to state governors are available at /uploadedFiles/Content/News/Legal_and_Business/Bloomberg_Law/Legal_Reports/palo(1).pdf, and the letter to contractors at /uploadedFiles/Content/News/Legal_and_Business/Bloomberg_Law/Legal_Reports/the-deputy-secretary-of-energy(1).pdf.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).