For those of you who want to keep track, the State of New Mexico has set up a vaccine dashboard including a county-by-county COVID-19 vaccine distribution. You can view the dashboard here: https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html
As of Feb. 2, 277,141 cumulative doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in New Mexico, which includes 215,000 primary doses and about 61,000 secondary doses. According to the dashboard, 6.1% of our Eddy County population, or 3,537 individuals, have received at least one vaccine so far. Eddy County is currently 28th of New Mexico’s 33 counties in terms of percentage of the population that has received a vaccine. We’d certainly like to see that percentage increase for everyone who wants a vaccine. The City of Carlsbad is committed to working with the New Mexico Department of Health, our area medical providers and everyone else to increase the number of vaccines being provided to Carlsbad and Eddy County residents to those who are interested in receiving one.
Just a reminder that you can track bills from this year’s state legislative session at www.nmlegis.gov. As most of you know, there are a significant number of bills that could have a major impact on Carlsbad, including ones related to oil and gas as well as nuclear. The bills proposing that our college become an independent college are SB 236 (sponsored by Sen. Kernan) and HB 212 (sponsored by Rep. Brown and Rep. Townsend). You can also watch committee meetings and legislative sessions each day by clicking on the “Webcast” button at the top of the menu. Our legislators need all the help they can this year and always enjoy hearing from their constituents.
There have also been several developments with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant this week. WIPP announced that it has conducted an initial short-duration test of its ventilation fan known as the 700-C. The process was handled carefully and safely to ensure the safety of employees. This is the first step forward toward providing additional airflow to the underground waste repository. WIPP is now analyzing the data and will post results when they are complete. The eventual full restart of the fan will improve underground working conditions and support the mission of disposing of transuranic waste in the underground repository.
Additionally, the NNSA is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate alternatives for the safe disposition of what’s called surplus plutonium. Diluting this waste and disposing it at WIPP is one of the proposals being considered. Recently, the National Academies of Science completed an evaluation of this plan and concluded that the plan is technically viable. Last week, several members of our community submitted letters in support of this consideration. We encourage the Department of Energy to carefully evaluate these recommendations as the agency moves forward.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway