TRI-CITIES: Murray Advances $15 Million to Help PNNL Relocate 300 Area Facilities

Jun 13 2007

Murray's Funding Will Help Ensure PNNL's Critical Research Can Continue as Hanford Cleanup Advances

After the Department of Homeland Security Failed to Meet Its Funding Obligation, Senator Murray Stepped Up So National Security Research and the Tri-Cities Won't Suffer

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray helped advance $15 million to enable the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to relocate critical facilities that must be moved because they are in the path of the cleanup in Hanford's 300 Area.   

Under a memorandum of understanding, the relocation costs are supposed to funded by three federal agencies: two agencies in the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Despite that agreement, DHS failed to provide any funding for the relocation in its FY 2008 budget proposal.  Unless this shortfall is fixed, PNNL's Capability Replacement Laboratory will face long and costly delays, and PNNL's important national security work will suffer. The lab's work includes research on radiation portal monitoring and counter-proliferation technologies. 

Today Murray used her seat on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to include $15 million in the FY 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.  The bill passed the subcommittee this afternoon with Murray's support and will be considered by the full Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow (Thursday, 6/14).

"PNNL is conducting critical, cutting edge research for our national security," Murray said.  "The Department of Homeland Security agreed to support and fund this project, but it has failed to live up to its commitment.  I'm working to ensure this project moves forward so that PNNL's security work is not disrupted."

Mike Kluse, interim laboratory director of PNNL, applauded the news. 

"This is wonderful news and fills in a blank that has existed since the DHS budget was released.  These funds will provide a necessary piece of the funding stream for the 300 Area replacement facilities, PNNL’s top priority.  I appreciate Senator Murray’s continuous efforts toward keeping this project on track and maintaining the lab’s research capabilities in support of a critical national and homeland security mission," Mr. Kluse said.   

Senator Murray is a longtime advocate for PNNL.  Last year, she secured $2 million for the 300 Area.  Over the years, she has worked with the Lab, local community, state and the Bush Administration to meet the needs at PNNL. 

"PNNL plays a critical role in advancing our security, strengthening our economy and leading scientific research," Murray said. "I'm proud to help keep PNNL moving forward."