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Washington state picks new Hanford cleanup watchdog

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 13, 2020

Tri-City Herald

Tri-City Herald

Washington state has picked an environmental manager from its Yakima Department of Ecology office to oversee state regulations at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

David Bowen will replace Alex Smith as Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program manager based in Richland starting Dec. 16. Smith took another state job at the end of October.

“I know Hanford is challenging and complex,” Bowen said, “But I’m excited for the opportunities it presents.”

He is looking forward to meeting Tri-Cities area community members, tribal representatives and those engaged in cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation to gain a broad perspective on issues, he said.

“Bowen has experience building solid partnerships with elected officials and local government leaders, advocacy groups and members of the public,” Ecology said in an announcement.

“A key strength and interest is continuing strong partnerships at the community, state and federal level to ensure the cleanup of nuclear waste material at the Hanford site,” Ecology said.

Ecology, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, regulates environmental cleanup at the Hanford site and is one of the three Tri-Party Agencies – with the Department of Energy and EPA – that sets enforceable cleanup goals and deadlines at Hanford.

Hanford is contaminated with radioactive and hazardous chemical waste from the past production of plutonium from World War II through the Cold War.

Bowen has experience resolving challenging environmental and policy issues, and most recently led a team of engineers, environmental specialists, hydrogeologists and enforcement coordinators for the Water Quality Section in Ecology’s central Washington region, according to the agency.

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