The Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance includes the Eddy and Lea County governments and the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs. It was formed in 2006 to convince the U.S. Department of Energy that it should consider a site in this area for a proposed integrated nuclear fuel reprocessing facility and has never had an official audit.
Carlsbad officials asked the Auditor's Office for the opinion of whether the alliance, a limited liability company, is subject to the state's Audit Act and rule. The ruling issued late last month that said the alliance is a government entity for financial reporting purposes, and if the organization were to be dissolved, the assets of the board revert to the government that are alliance members. It is therefore is subject to audits.
"I have been saying all along that we are a government entity. But there were some on the board that had the philosophy that we were not," alliance treasurer and Eddy County Commissioner Jack Volpato told the Carlsbad Current-Argus for a story (http://bit.ly/SCcNr2) published Saturday. "That's why the Office of the State Auditor was asked to make the determination whether we do fall under state audit guidelines."
The alliance will now hire
Money for the alliance comes from the participating governments. After being formed in 2006, it purchased 1,000 acres between Eddy and Lea County and was among eleven successful entities selected to receive federal grants to conduct siting studies for a fuel recycling facilities. The alliance received over a million dollars for the study, but was not successful in getting the project built.
Since then, the alliance has explored other nuclear projects that could be built on the site.
This week the alliance announced it had struck a deal with French firm AREVA to help create an above-ground interim storage facility to store nuclear fuel on the 1,000 acres between Carlsbad and Hobbs.
The facility is being billed as a safe way to temporarily house used fuel from nuclear power plants. The facility would provide more than 150 job opportunities, including positions for armed guards, nuclear scientists, engineers and managerial and administrative staff.
Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, http://www.currentargus.com/