Governor Gregoire makes last visit to Hanford before end of term
KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Governor Christine Gregoire made a stop in the Tri-Cities Tuesday to speak with business leaders about the legacy and future of Hanford.
Her Hanford visit marked what the governor says is likely her last visit to the Hanford site during her governorship. After her tour of the Vit Plant, she took time to speak at a Tri-Dec luncheon in Kennewick.
She's spent more than two decades working on the government side of Hanford clean-up and she says she isn't stopping anytime soon.
Governor Gregoire may be reaching the end of her term but it's certainly not the end of her work with Hanford.
She spoke with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Friday about his recent visits, his assembled team of experts and making Hanford clean up a top priority.
"I want us to look at all options not just a delay option. All options includes getting it done on time. It may mean us having to go to congress and say we need more money. I'm ready to step up to that challenge," says Gregoire.
Clean up deadlines have been delayed multiple times. It's even led to the state suing D.O.E.
"Obviously a lawsuit is always in the background, but having been attorney general three terms, don't pull that trigger unless you have to. It's better because it's more timely to get things done working together," says Gregoire.
The Department of Energy spokesperson Carrie Meyer says pace isn't the most important thing.
"Obviously we want to get clean up done as quickly as possible, but we have to do it safely. The access that the secretary has to work experts that's definitely going to help us to come up with the right solutions," says Meyer.
Governor Gregoire says there is a moral obligation to get the clean-up done and she's doing all she can to move it forward before she leaves office.
"I feel good about the secretary and his team and what he's doing. So we're going to partner with him. I want to pass the baton to my successor making sure this thing is on track, on time with funding to move this forward," says Gregoire.
Governor Gregoire says Secretary Chu is making Hanford clean-up one of his top priorities and he is spending at least ten hours a week focusing on the project.
She also says that she looks at her work on Hanford clean-up as a highlight in her career.