Washington State Regulators Fine Feds More Than $1 Million Over Hanford Cleanup Data
The Washington Department of Ecology has issued a more than $1 million penalty to the U.S. Department of Energy for withholding important information at the Hanford cleanup site.
Ecology leaders say without access to this data, they can’t effectively protect the land, air and water for residents in eastern Washington and surrounding communities. They say they’ve attempted to negotiate this issue with federal Energy managers for years.
Washington state regulators say the federal Energy Department is legally required to provide access to this data as part of the binding Tri-Party Agreement. That document was signed in 1989 and governs cleanup of the Hanford site.
Hanford is one of the most contaminated sites in the world – including toxic materials like 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste.
The Department of Energy says it has filed an appeal with the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board. A spokesperson wrote: “We will continue to provide appropriate access to information in a way that allows us to continue to adhere to federal laws and requirements.”
The DOE stores and treats waste in tanks with equipment that is 50, 60, or even 70 years old. Washington’s Ecology Department says it can only ensure the safety of aging infrastructure if the federal government provides transparent access to those operating records.
The Ecology Department says it aims to use the penalty funds to support eastern Washington communities.
Under the settlement, Bechtel Corp. and Aecom will pay nearly $58 million over allegations from current or former Hanford employees. The workers said they were retaliated against for blowing the whistle over how labor hours were billed. Continue Reading Hanford Contractors Settle $58 Million Claim Over Fraudulent Labor Billing Practices
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Denin Koch’s trip to the Hanford B Reactor when he was 19 stirred his musical passion. It eventually inspired a full jazz album exploring the complicated history of Hanford, 75 years after the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan ended WWII. Continue Reading 75 Years After Bombings, Tri-Cities Musician’s Jazz Album Explores Complicated Hanford History