Hanford project offers tribal members experience - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hanford project offers tribal members experience for future opportunities

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RICHLAND, WASH. -  SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 – A unique partnership at the Hanford Site will facilitate cleanup of one of the outermost areas of the Hanford Site while providing jobs for tribal members in the Tri-Cities area.

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company, a prime environmental cleanup contractor for DOE, and the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council (HAMTC) announced Monday that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the CH2M HILL/HAMTC Collective Bargaining Agreement that will create jobs in the Tri-Cities for local tribal members as well as reduce the Hanford Site cleanup footprint.

 Under the agreement, CH2M HILL has awarded a subcontract worth approximately $750,000 to Sealaska Environmental Services (SES) – an Alaska Native-owned, small disadvantaged business – to provide temporary Teamster Service Men for debris removal of the North Slope area, an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) project.

 "We look forward to partnering with HAMTC in this agreement and working with SES to help assist in offering opportunities to local tribal members," said CH2M HILL President and Chief Executive Officer John Lehew. "Together, we're not only supporting DOE's environmental cleanup goals, but we're also supporting local tribes, local jobs and small business."

 SES, which is wholly owned by Sealaska Corporation, is an Alaska Native Corporation with over 20,000 tribal member shareholders focused on environmental remediation and stewardship and making a positive impact on the community they live in.

 "The tribal nations have strong cultural ties to the Hanford Site so we are pleased with the opportunity CH2M HILL and HAMTC are providing local tribal members," said Matt McCormick, manager of the DOE Richland Operations Office.

 The MOU is supported by the Teamsters Local 839, an affiliate of HAMTC, who would normally complete the North Slope debris removal under the current governing bargaining agreement. The MOU enables SES to hire local tribal members to become temporary teamsters and obtain valuable work experience and training while working alongside HAMTC-represented workers.

 "HAMTC fully endorses the nation's Recovery Act goals to put people to work," said HAMTC President Dave Molnaa. "With this MOU, we're providing local tribal members the opportunity to gain valuable working skills for future opportunities while continuing to support DOE's environmental cleanup efforts."

 Cleanup of the North Slope area is part of DOE's effort to reduce the Hanford Site cleanup footprint. The North Slope, commonly known as the Wahluke Slope, represents about 169 square miles of the Hanford Site. The name "North Slope" comes from its geographical relationship with the rest of the site. The area is north and northeast of and across the Columbia River from Hanford's main facilities.

 Historically tribal land, the area was used by the federal government in 1943 as a security buffer to protect Hanford's defense production facilities. Anti-aircraft artillery and missiles were located on this land, but no plutonium production plants were built there. Today, the area is scattered with miscellaneous debris piles, ranging in size and content, that must be removed as a priority for Hanford cleanup.

 Work on the North Slope is expected to start by the end of September 2010 and finish in April 2011.