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Attorneys Waging Fight On Doe Sites

Washington state Attorney General Christine Gregoire said Friday she and her counterparts from 17 states are going to let Congress know they aren’t about to give up the agreements covering the cleanup of Department of Energy sites without a fight.

But Gregoire also said the attorneys general will tell Congress they are committed to ensuring the agreements are flexible enough to deal with any new problems or new cleanup technology which is developed.

“The consensus is these agreements should remain on the books, remain in force but with enough flexibility to handle any disagreements which arise,” she said.

Gregoire’s comments came after a daylong meeting of the attorneys general to discuss the future of cleanup at Hanford and other DOE sites. The department has been moving rapidly to trim costs, while some in Congress have suggested the cleanup agreements and certain federal environmental laws be preempted in an effort to design a cheaper environmental program.

Gregoire had earlier said she and her colleagues might consider writing their own bill, but had decided to wait.

“We talked about the basics of a bill, but then decided we would each work with our own (congressional) delegations,” she said.

Gregoire said she was pleased with the meeting and the group was expected to produce a letter next week outlining its thoughts. The letter would be sent to relevant members of Congress and officials of others states with DOE sites.

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