Advertise Here

Spin Control

Inslee hints at state action over Hanford cleanup

OLYMPIA – The federal government's latest plan to cleanup nuclear waste at Hanford is short on details and the state is considering its options to force a better one, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

… After meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, Inslee said the federal department’s “draft cleanup plan” was inadequate on two respects. It doesn’t address what the federal government will do in the near future with leaking tanks of hazardous waste from decades of making parts for nuclear weapons. It doesn’t have an adequate long-term plan for containing the waste and shipping out of state to a permanent storage facility.

Inslee said the plan Moniz provided was merely a draft, not a completed plan, but doesn’t give Washington the predictability the state needs. The governor said he is consulting with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who said his office would hold the federal government “legally accountable for environmental cleanup at Hanford.”

Asked at what point he would go to court to challenge the federal government’s cleanup operations, Inslee replied: “At the right point.”

The state and federal government have clashed in and out of court over removing waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation for decades. In 1989, the U.S. Department of Energy filed an agreement with the state and the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the waste on a timetable that calls for establishing a factory to convert much of the waste into glasslike logs that could be safely transported to a permanent storage facility. But the Obama Administration cancelled plans for the storage facility in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and the Energy Department fell behind on the schedule and had to announce revisions in 2009.

In February 2013, barely a month after Inslee took office, the department announced that at least one of its double-walled tanks, which were thought to be secure, was leaking. That summer, the governor called for the department to step up its timetable for cleanup, but in the Obama administration’s budget announced last month, the federal government wants to cut money for Hanford cleanup.

“Our concerns go way beyond this year’s budget,” Inslee said, adding “One way or another, we expect to have a solution.”

Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Spin Control

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Spin Control.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
Advertise Here