Tri-Cities Leaders Confident in New Energy Secretary Moniz - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities Leaders Confident in New Energy Secretary Moniz

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- The new secretary of energy, Ernest Moniz, is making a good impression on local leaders following his visit to Hanford last week.

Tri-Cities leaders say they are very pleased with Secretary Moniz.

He made a great first impression by taking the time to meet with community leaders during his visit to Hanford last Wednesday.

"I was more positive and more optimistic about the Department of Energy than I have been in all the years I've lived here. It was the most encouraging meeting I've had," said Kennewick Mayor Steve Young.

Secretary Moniz is building confidence by listening to what community leaders have to say about their hopes and concerns for Hanford.

Moniz's visit falls just one month after taking office and his early arrival shows the high priority level the clean up is taking under his watch.

"I've been very frustrated with the department not being as open with what their path forward is, particularly at the waste treatment plant for example. So hopefully with the secretary coming out here, we can get some answers sooner rather than later," said Rep. Doc Hastings, 4th District.

Some of the topics covered during the meeting with Tri-Cities mayors and community leaders included a Hanford site land transfer for small business use and a Manhattan Project historic park.

Leaders say Moniz showed support for these community interests and more talks in the future.

"He's taking the community seriously and recognizes our importance. But also just his concern about a variety of clean up issue going on at the site. Technical issues as well as the positive progress that's going on at the site," said Carl Adrian, TRIDEC President and CEO.

"Very, very encouraging for us. We walked out of that meeting very proud to have him as the secretary of energy," Mayor Young said.

Local politicians tell me Moniz's nuclear background and prior visits to Hanford before taking the secretary position, give them confidence he's right for the job and for the future of Hanford cleanup.