Gov. Gregoire Threatens DOE with Lawsuits, Fines over Budget Cuts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gov. Gregoire Threatens DOE with Lawsuits, Fines over Budget Cuts

SEATTLE, Wash. - The Governor and some of her top policy makers are forging a hard line stance against the Department and Energy and the Federal Government over proposed budget cuts for the Hanford clean-up project.

Another hundred million in waste is on the line... And DOE and the Bush administration budget cuts would be violating terms of the Tri-party agreement.

"I can think of nothing (worse) that has the wrong message about whether we're going to get the job done," said Washington Governor Christine Gregoire.

This, on the heels of news that a new, separate request by the Bush administration would see the Vit Plant budget trimmed by another hundred-million dollars.

"If the proposed budget cuts are adopted by congress, the governor and I will discuss the options available to the state of Washington to address the federal government S expected failure to keep the waste treatment plant construction on schedule," said Attorney General Rob McKenna; "I have asked my staff to evaluate each of these options."

Among those options...fines of up to 25-thousand dollars per day... But the more likely scenario is a sweeping lawsuit that will force a new schedule on DOE for finishing the Vit plant and the subsequent cleanup.