Tag Archives: nuclear waste

Washington state will sue federal government over Hanford

UPDATE: See added notes below

Gov. Chris Gregoire has run out of patience in dealing with the federal government, which has not lived up to its agreement to clean up nuclear waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Now, the state will battle the federal government in court.

I received a press release from the Governor’s Office moments ago. It contains this quote from Gregoire:

“In Washington state, we have been patient and reasonable in working with the federal agencies at Hanford,” Gregoire said. “Today, our patience has run out. The federal cleanup has been far too slow.

“In the past three years, the situation has gotten much worse. We now face—not years, not decades—but more than a century of delay. The most recent budget proposed by President Bush puts us on pace to empty one tank per year. At that rate, it will take 140 years to empty the worst of the remaining tanks. That’s not only absurd. It’s unconscionable. The people of Washington cannot stand for that, and will not stand for that.”

In 1989, the state and federal government reached agreement on a cleanup schedule that had a chance of preventing dangerous groundwater contamination in the Hanford region, including the Columbia River. The federal government, pleading poverty, has never lived up to the rate of progress promised in that agreement.

UPDATE: Wednesday, Nov. 26

Considering the increasing concern about nuclear waste at Hanford, there has been surprising little reaction to yesterday’s announcement by Gov. Chris Gregoire that this state will sue the federal government. For the moment, I’ll just add a few notes. Please read on:
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