Hanford Funding on the Senate Floor - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hanford Funding on the Senate Floor

KENNEWICK, Wash.- Washington Senator Patty Murray was in front of the U.S. Senate Thursday fighting for continued federal cleanup dollars for the Hanford site.

If the funding isn't passed tomorrow, it'll be delayed until the senate reconvenes a month from now.

Senator Murray says the funding is critical for cleanup progress on the site.

Republicans and democrats debated on the senate floor.

At the forefront, Hanford cleanup.  About $700 million for the Waste Treatment Plant sits up in the air.

Senator Murray thinks a move must be made.

"Our government has an obligation to cleanup the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Washington.  Now as I speak that community is working hard to cleanup nuclear waste to protect the community and the environment," the Senator said.

The republican Senate may adjourn Friday with money still on the table.

Hanford's specific allotment is unknown, and if the funding bills aren't passed, Murray says funding will take a hit.

"That funding for Hanford cleanup is gonna be delayed, and that means, M. President, it's gonna take longer and it will cost more money," she said.

With cleanup already behind, officials at the site today say getting full scale construction on the WTP back up is paramount.

"By late calendar year 2007, we should be fully back to work in both of those facilities," said John Eschenberg, the Project Manager. 

Failing to pass the bills not only slows down funding, it leaves less on the table.

"People are gonna have a lot of project's that aren't funded, they're gonna be looking for large sums of money that they can take from, and Hanford is always a target," Murray said. 

If they don't pass the bill Friday, they'll have to cut $5 billion from the budget.

The funding is part of the Senate Energy and Water Bill.

Also at issue were money for methamphetimine awareness and a gang task force in Yakima.

Murray calls these two of the biggest issues the state faces today.

If the bill isn't passed Friday, it will sit on the table until January.

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