News Releases

Murray Announces Bipartisan Nuclear Cleanup Caucus

Mar 14 2001

Joins with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) to fight for Hanford funding and other cleanup projects threatened by Bush budget

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced the creation of a bi-partisan effort by members of the U.S. Senate to promote nuclear cleanup and funding for cleanup projects, like the Hanford Reservation. Murray joined with Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to establish the Senate Nuclear Waste Cleanup Caucus to focus attention and increase funding to clean up nuclear contamination and waste resulting from our victories in World War II and the Cold War.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Bush was seeking to cut the budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) by $1 billion, and had singled out nuclear waste cleanup to weather $400 million in cuts. Such cuts would be devastating to efforts underway at the Hanford Nuclear Weapons facility, which manufactured the plutonium essential to developing America's nuclear weapons program.

"The price of America's victory in World War II and the Cold War is buried in underground storage tanks and in facilities that now must be cleaned up," Murray said. "America owes a debt of gratitude to the workers and the workplaces that helped win those victories. I am pleased to join with Senator Crapo in this important effort to make sure that nuclear cleanup efforts are not abandoned in favor of tax cuts or other spending 'priorities.'"

Senators Murray and Crapo will serve as co-chairs of the new Senate caucus. The effort will include meetings with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and other Administration officials to discuss cleanup issues at sites such as Hanford, the INEEL site near Idaho Falls,

In a letter to every Senator urging them to join the new caucus, Crapo and Murray said, "the [Environmental Management] program has turned a corner and real cleanup and real progress is taking place at DOE sites across the country. In order to meet its legal and political commitments, management of the DOE cleanup program needs to continue improving and the program needs an aggressive technology development program and increased funding. The Senate Nuclear Waste Cleanup Caucus seeks to help the DOE meet each of these important objectives."