RICHLAND, WA - Senator Maria Cantwell made a visit to the Hanford site today to tour and talk about President Trump's massive budget cut proposal. In President Trump's 2020 fiscal year budget proposal, he wants to cut funding for the ongoing cleanup at Hanford.
President Trump's budget cut proposal calls for an overall cut to Hanford funding by 18 percent, Richland operations office by 27 percent, and the Office of River protection by 13 percent. According to Senator Cantwell's website, Richland Operations Office wants 453 million dollars more than President Trump's proposed budget. River Protections wants 680 million dollars more.
According to budget documents from the Richland Operations Office and the Office of River Protection, these cuts would fall short of the Tri-Party agreement. The Tri-Party agreement spells out how Washington State and the federal government will cooperate to make sure cleanup is in compliance with federal law. The Tri-Party agreement requires the federal government to submit a budget request that fulfills this agreement when it comes to the necessary funding.
Senator Cantwell says when the people out at Hanford did the current budget and said this is what the Tri-party agreement requires, the Trump Administration ignored the numbers.
"Obviously people here on the ground have come forth with a budget that is working those numbers from the ground up," said Senator Maria Cantwell. "There are going to be unexpected things, that's why we have to plan with a budget that we are confident will meet the milestones in the agreement. We are a mighty coalition, and I'm sure that we are going to make sure that funding is there to clean up Hanford."
Senator Cantwell says she wants an energy secretary for life or until Hanford is cleaned up. What Senator Cantwell says she doesn't want is to see constant changes in proposals.
Cantwells says, when you have someone at the head of the department changing every three years, then it's easy to change proposals that don't meet the needs and skip over details; details needed to accurately fund the work out at Hanford.
Within the next month, Senator Cantwell says she and others in congress are going to get busy working on what she calls shortcomings in the proposal.