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Cleaning Up Hanford: Murray Announces Over $2 Billion in Funding for Hanford Cleanup in Senate Bill

Sep 17 2003

Senator urges DOE to work in partnership with states and federal regulators

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray today announced she had secured $2.04 billion for environmental cleanup at Hanford in the fiscal year 2004 Senate Energy and Water Development spending bill. The bill passed the full Senate on Tuesday evening.

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.

"In the face of the most significant budget cuts in recent history, I am pleased to have secured this critical funding for nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford," Senator Murray said. "The health and welfare of families in the Tri-Cities will benefit from the Senate's support for nuclear cleanup. I am glad that these funds will help keep our federal obligation to the health and safety of those who sacrificed for our country.”

The total funding represents $962.8 million for Richland Operations and $1.079 billion for the Office of River Protection (ORP). This funding represents the total federal amount needed to move forward with the Waste Treatment Plant.

Murray expressed concern that the Bush Administration may try to change the definition of high-level nuclear waste in order to avoid responsibility for all the clean-up required at Hanford and other sites. After the states and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) successfully blocked the Administration's re-classification attempt in court, the DOE asked Congress to legislate the change.

"I strongly urge the Department of Energy to get back to its job of cleaning up the waste, rather than wasting valuable time seeking Congressional help over a lost court case," Murray said. "The fastest, most effective way to clean up sites like Hanford is for the DOE to work in partnership with the states and federal regulators."

Senator Murray is a member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is co-chair of the Senate Nuclear Clean-Up Caucus, which she helped found in 2001.