State regulators are suing the U.S. Department of Energy for what they say is a failure to adequately clean up legacy waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and they will impose tougher rules for disposing of waste generated at the lab during the Cold War and Manhattan Project.

It’s another symptom of the 2016 consent order replacing hard deadlines — and fines for missing them — with milestones that get renegotiated every year, said Charles de Saillan, attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center.

“The site is not getting cleaned up. [The Energy Department] is dragging its feet,” said de Saillan, who helped write the 2005 consent order. “There’s absolutely no incentive for it to get the funding to do any more than the minimal amount of work.”

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