The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) should realign its spending priorities by putting its field projects like the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project ahead of additional funding for its operations in Washington, D.C.

That is the message from Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

In a letter to the DOE’s new administrator, Chaffetz urged the department to keep its commitment to quickly clean up Cold War-era sites like the Moab UMTRA Project, instead of increasing funds for its national headquarters.

Crews are currently more than halfway through the process of moving an estimated 16 million tons of uranium mill tailings and debris from the former Atlas Mill site about 4 road miles north of downtown Moab to a long-term disposal cell near Crescent Junction.

However, the DOE’s budget justification for the current fiscal year called for a 14 percent cut to its Non-Defense Environmental Cleanup account, while its headquarters requested an 8 percent funding increase.

Chaffetz informed Perry that the environmental cleanup fund is essential because it supports the Moab project.

“Removal of these tailings from the former national defense site will eliminate a massive hazard from the doorsteps of Moab residents and the 25 million downstream water users in places such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles,” he wrote.