WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called on the Bush Administration to come clean on its plans for Hanford cleanup. While the president’s budget request provides additional funding for the vitrification plant, it cuts other aspects of Hanford cleanup efforts significantly—particularly the tank cleanup.
“The Bush Administration continues to send mixed messages about its plans for cleaning up Hanford,” Senator Murray said. “On one hand the Administration has said it wants to accelerate cleanup, then in its supplemental request last year Hanford was called a lower-priority federal program. Yesterday, in his budget, the President increased funding for the vit plant, but cut funding to the tank farm. It is time for the Bush Administration to come clean about its plans for Hanford and its commitment to the people of the Tri-Cities.”
“We are still waiting for a clear commitment from this administration to cleanup America’s nuclear legacy at Hanford,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Energy Committee. “Critical programs like ongoing tank cleanup can’t afford these drastic cuts. The federal government has a moral and legal obligation to cleanup Hanford, and I’ll continue fighting to make sure the cleanup efforts gets the support it needs.”
The president’s budget proposes $1.76 billion for clean-up funding at the Hanford site—9.2 percent more than the amount signed into law last year. Funding for the vitrification plant and Richland Office activities were increased over last year’s enacted amount, but funding for cleanup of Hanford’s tank farms was cut by $52 million. Overall, the administration’s proposal decreases Hanford funding by more than 10 percent when compared to the 2005 level. In addition, the administration has not provided any information on the impact of this proposed reduction on the jobs, safety, or the pace of work. It is also unknown whether the 2005 funding level funding allows the administration to meet the federal government’s obligations under the Tri-Party Agreement.