Concern Over Lab Oversight

New Mexico – Two Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are concerned the Department of Energy could be easing safety and security oversight at national laboratories.

U.S. Reps Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas sent letters Monday to the Government Accountability Office and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

They asked the GAO to review the proposed plan, which they say would allow contractors to implement safety and security programs without strong federal oversight.

They say the Energy Department has suspended some independent inspections of nuclear weapons complex facilities and that dozens of internal reviews and assessments have been suspended in the past year.

They say incidents at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs showed the need for safety and security improvements in the past decade.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.