EPA to leave Las Vegas when lease ends at UNLV in 2020

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Steve Marcus A view of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chemistry Laboratory, right, on the UNLV campus Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

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Officials at the Epa are crafting strategies to move its UNLV lab out of Las Vegas, a spokesman for the company confirmed.

The decision, which was revealed to laboratory workers, ends efforts to build a new EPA center at the UNLV Harry Reid Research and Innovation Park. EPA plans to consolidate the lab with existing firm operations in other states after its existing lease with UNLV ends in September 2020.

“Personnel were notified of this decision and that the firm is developing alternatives to move the research work to other present EPA laboratories,” said Jahan Wilcox, an EPA spokesperson.

Some choices might include combining the UNLV laboratory, which performs research study and supports air quality programs, with existing operations in Alabama or North Carolina.

The decision is unrelated to President Donald Trump’s proposed spending plan cuts to the firm. The previous administration had chosen not to move on with developing a brand-new center in Las Vegas, Wilcox said. The Trump administration signed off and completed that choice.

“Following a plan from the previous administration, the existing EPA has actually decided to not pursue constructing a brand-new laboratory in Las Vegas,” Wilcox stated in a statement.

The move came as a surprise to UNLV administrators, who had been hoping that the laboratory would stay associated with the university. Former Sen. Harry Reid defended $7.8 million in appropriations so that the EPA might develop a new structure.

Wilcox said those funds are now being redirected “to execute other lab consolidation efforts.”

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