Inslee Announces Court Action In Hanford Clean-Up Fight
The state of Washington is going back to federal court over clean-up at Hanford -- the nation’s largest nuclear waste site.
Governor Jay Inslee announced the latest court action Friday.
The decision to return to court follows months of negotiations that failed to produce a new Hanford clean-up agreement. Governor Inslee said the time has come once again to get the courts involved.
“There have been multiple failures, more than multiple failures of the federal government meeting its legal obligations and its timeline already,” he said. “So we have been involved in a multi-month process to try to reach an agreement with the federal government to actually fulfill its obligations, those have not been successful.”
Inslee said the state will ask a federal court to force the Department of Energy to fulfill its clean-up obligations.
The last time the state of Washington went to court over Hanford was in 2008. That resulted in a 2010 settlement and new clean-up timelines and milestones. Since then milestones have been missed, construction on a multi-billion dollar Waste Treatment Plant has stalled and more buried waste tanks have been found to be leaking.
Late Friday, the U-S Department of Energy issued a statement. It reads in part: “…we are disappointed that the parties could not agree on a reasonable, achievable path forward.” It goes on to say that the Department will continue to work “expeditiously” to treat Hanford tank waste.
Washington’s petition to the court will ask for additional double-shell tanks for temporary storage, new timelines for reducing radioactive waste in single-shell tanks by 50-percent by 2031, and new timelines for completion of the Waste Treatment Plant.