Senate Committee to Review Retaliation on Hanford Whistleblowers
Donna Busche & Dr. Walt Tamosaitis
WASHINGTON D.C. - A U.S. Senate committee plans to review the recent retaliation on whistleblowers at Hanford this week.
The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Contracting and Financial Oversight plans to hold a hearing Tuesday morning to examine the safety culture at the Waste Treatment Project, including recent reports of whistleblower retaliation.
The hearing will also examine the processes and procedures for addressing whistleblower reports and ensuring that whistleblowers under Department of Energy contracts are protected from retaliation.
Witnesses include leaders from Hanford contractors Bechtel, URS and the DOE. Hanford whistleblowers Donna Busche and Dr. Walt Tamosaitis, along with Hanford Challenge's Tom Carpenter, were informally invited to testify, but Hanford Challenge was told that the ranking minority Republican on the subcommittee, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), blocked formal invitations, making them unable to give oral testimony.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the Chair of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Financial Oversight, will hold a Roundtable with the whistleblowers and Tom Carpenter before the official hearing. Senator McCaskill is also expected to submit the written testimony of Dr. Tamosaitis, Donna Busche and Tom Carpenter to the formal Senate hearing.
Tom Carpenter, Executive Director of Hanford Challenge, stated, "It is Orwellian that the Senate would hold a hearing on whistleblower retaliation but not take testimony from the whistle-blowers. It is another attempt to suppress the truth, and allow the corporations another avenue for retaliation. We are grateful to Senator McCaskill for working to provide another forum where these courageous experts can tell their important stories."