HANFORD, WA. - Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are taking the next legal step to keep the cleanup at Hanford on track.
The two on Wednesday sent a letter to the federal Department of Justice saying they want to trigger a clause in the 2010 consent decree that allows either side to call for 40 days of negotiations if no proposal is accepted. If they still can't reach an agreement, Washington can ask the federal court to force the Department of Energy to implement Washington's plan for Hanford cleanup.
The federal government on Friday formally rejected Washington state's plan to amend the decree governing the retrieval and treatment of high-level radioactive waste at Hanford.
“The state put forward a proposal in order to keep Hanford cleanup on track, and while there has been progress from the federal government in proposing creative ways for moving forward with elements of cleanup, we need to see substantial improvement in order to ensure that our agreed-upon deadlines for waste removal and treatment are met,” Inslee said. “This is the federal government’s responsibility to the citizens of Washington. It is important that we keep this discussion moving forward.”
The state announced its proposed amendments to the consent decree in March. The federal government announced its proposal on the same day. Washington state formally rejected the federal government’s proposal on Friday, April 18. The federal government sent a letter later that same day rejecting the state’s proposal.
“We have been disappointed with the federal government’s lack of commitment to its responsibility to clean up Hanford,” Ferguson said. “We will continue to use the legal tools at our disposal to force the federal government to accept a plan that increases accountability, protects the environment and public, and reduces further delays.”