News Releases

HANFORD: Murray Questions Obama Budget Chief Nominee on Ensuring Responsible Budgets for Hanford Cleanup

Sep 16 2010

In Budget Committee hearing on the nomination for Jacob J. Lew to be Director of the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Murray calls for clear and consistent Hanford budgets, warns against coming up short on upholding legal and moral obligations to cleanup

WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S QUESTIONING (AT 52:14 mark)

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee, called on the Obama Administration’s federal budget director nominee to deliver clear and consistent budgets for cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and nuclear waste sites throughout the country. Murray raised the issue in a nomination hearing for Jacob J. Lew to be Director of the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the Obama Administration. Senator Murray has consistently held both Republican and Democratic Administrations accountable for producing budgets that meet the legal and moral obligation the federal government has to clean up Hanford.

Murray’s questioning of Lew follows:

“I did want to also ask you about the EM program that we talked about when you came to my office.

“It’s a program that’s responsible for meeting the federal government’s legal and moral obligation to for nuclear waste across the country 

“Hanford in my state is extremely important.

“As you know, the EM mission is about 25 percent of the DOE’s budget.
“I have been very clear with this Administration– we have to be consistent with the funding on this. And meet our legal and moral obligations.

“This Administration has fallen short in meeting that and that waste that remains in my state and across the country from the Manhattan Project and Cold War efforts were from a war effort.

“And now that we are hearing that we may be seeing a 5 percent cut. I want you to really think about that fact this is defense spending, and it can’t be just defense when it suits the government.

“And I want to talk with you about making sure that we have robust annual budgets for EM that will meet those legal obligations that we have to clean up Hanford and other sites around the country.  

“And also your commitment to that and if you could give that to me today I would appreciate it.”

Lew responded by saying:

“Senator, I understand the issue of dealing these waste sites is very important.

“It’s critical not just at Hanford but in a number of parts of the county and it is an important environmental and health and safety challenge that we have to address.

“I, If confirmed will work with the staff at OMB and the team at the Department of Energy to fully understand the issues and will work with you to try and see if we can come up with the best possible solution.”

Senator Murray responded:

“I assure you we will have many conversations because this is extremely important.”