(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced that she has secured over $2 billion for Hanford cleanup in the fiscal year 2003 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.
The funds, which support a waste treatment plant and cleanup efforts along the Columbia River, meet the required federal share specified under the Tri-Party Agreement and accelerated cleanup program.
The bill also rejects the President's request for the creation of a separate Accelerated Cleanup Account that would set aside $1.1 billion in funding to be released to waste sites at the Administration's discretion.
The Senate bill earmarks all funding for waste sites across the country and contains report language critical of the Department of Energy's attempts to cut Hanford's funding to create the "slush fund." The report says "the complete lack of information from the Department [of Energy] to Congress concerning the specific tasks to be performed with $1,100,000,000 of the taxpayers money is as shocking as it is arrogant."
Sen. Patty Murray said, "this bill puts to rest the question of whether the federal government will meet its legal and moral obligation to Hanford and other nuclear waste sites across the country. Leaving a significant portion of the Environmental Management funds unassigned would have left states vulnerable to accept new cleanup agreements or face denial of adequate funding. I certainly support innovative and cost-effective new cleanup efforts, but they can not come at the expense of safety or standards."
The total funding in the Senate bill represents $760 million for Richland Operations and $1.132 billion for the Office of River Protection. An additional $125 million is provided for Program Direction and Safeguards and Security at Hanford.
The Senate bill includes $7.1 billion for the nation's Environmental Management program, a $300 million increase over President Bush's request.
Senator Murray is a member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee and co-chair of the Senate Nuclear Clean-Up Caucus. Her efforts on the Committee resulted in the higher funding levels for Hanford.
"This bill affirms the Senate's commitment to nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford and around the country. The health and welfare of our families and our environment will benefit from this increased support for nuclear cleanup," Murray said.