Energy, Environment, and Hanford

Energy, Environment, and Hanford

Senator Murray knows our nation is faced with a growing global demand for energy, a severe reliance upon fossil fuels, and environmental concerns surrounding many of our current energy supplies. It will take American innovation and smart policies that encourage conservation, energy efficiency, and increased renewable energy research, development, and deployment to address the critical issue of climate change and create a comprehensive national energy policy. 

Senator Murray has consistently fought for legislation that protects our environment and supports the unique resources and quality of life enjoyed in Washington state. She believes that environmental protection is compatible with long-term economic growth, and has joined with local leaders to protect our state’s environment and natural resources, enhance recreational opportunities in the region, and promote innovative, locally-based approaches.

Hanford workers and the Tri-Cities community sacrificed to help America win World War II and the Cold War, and Senator Murray has worked hard in the U.S. Senate to ensure that the federal government meets its moral and legal obligation to clean up Hanford as well as similar nuclear waste sites throughout the country. As a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, Senator Murray has led efforts to increase resources for Hanford cleanup and to ensure that it is being done safely. Each year the President’s proposed budget falls short of what is needed to continue to make progress at Hanford, and each year Senator Murray pushes back against proposed cuts. Senator Murray will continue to fight to ensure this critical work stays on track.


Senator Murray has been fighting for the best possible energy and environmental policies for Washington state communities by:


  • Championing the Wild Sky Wilderness Act, which created the first new Wilderness area in Washington state in 20 years when signed into law in May 2008. Also championing expansion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and the designation of the Pratt and Middle Fork Rivers and Illabot Creek under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, protecting world-class habitat and recreation sites for generations to come.
  • Spearheading efforts annually to invest in the cleanup and recovery of Puget Sound through locally-driven projects and partnerships led by the Puget Sound Partnership, and the restoration and recovery of salmon habitat throughout the Pacific Northwest through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
  • Supporting permanent reauthorization and robust funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other efforts to protect unique landscapes, maintain working forests, and enhance access and recreation opportunities on existing public land.
  • Leading efforts to designate the Hanford Reach National Monument, which includes a 51-mile, free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River and key salmon spawning ground.
  • Securing funding for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s premier chemistry, environmental sciences, and data analytics national lab, and funding other important alternative energy research, development, and deployment programs.
  • Supporting legislation to permanently ban offshore oil and gas development off the West Coast.
  • Supporting the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to protect BPA’s authority to set policies in the Pacific Northwest and ensure it can provide stable and predictable power costs for all ratepayers.
  • Increasing total Department of Energy Environmental Management program funding to ensure timely cleanup work continues at Hanford in the Tri-Cities and at nuclear waste sites across the country.
  • Protecting the health and safety of Hanford workers by working to establish the Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) training facility and ensuring the federal government adequately compensates Hanford workers and their families for on-the-job illnesses.
  • Leading efforts in the Senate to designate the B Reactor as a National Historic Landmark in order to commemorate the role Hanford and the Tri-Cities played in American history, and supporting passage of legislation to create the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.


Senator Murray continues to fight for these priorities by:


  • Addressing the role climate change plays in many aspects of today’s world, from the federal budget to public health, and supporting sensible policies to address climate change.
  • Preserving and protecting public lands and Washington state’s backcountry for the enjoyment of future generations.
  • Ensuring environmental programs receive adequate federal support, including the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service to ensure appropriate management of our federal lands.
  • Defending the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act from legislative attacks.
  • Upholding robust environmental laws to prevent future environmental degradation and maintaining funding for agencies that manage our natural resources, including our nation’s fisheries, to protect commercial, recreational, and subsistence activities.
  • Promoting innovation and increasing investment in biofuels research and development, Smart Grid, vehicle and building technologies, energy storage, and more to meet our nation’s energy needs and ensure America is less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
  • Supporting and implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard.
  • Maintaining low-cost power in the Pacific Northwest for all ratepayers.
  • Fighting for funding and conducting oversight to continue timely, efficient, and safe cleanup work at Hanford and protecting residents and adjacent natural resources to Hanford – including the Columbia River – from contamination and environmental degradation.
  • Working to ensure all options for a national nuclear waste repository, including Yucca Mountain, are considered for the benefit of Hanford and nuclear waste sites across the country.