The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
In Our View/U.S. Department of Energy


Enough stalling on Hanford

In the blur of last week’s news, an inter-governmental battle reached critical mass. It’s wonky, involves multiple acronyms, and pitches up sense-dulling statements.
It also goes to the future of the most contaminated spot in the Western Hemisphere and the federal government’s reckless pattern of heel-dragging.
On April 18, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee gave thumbs down to the U.S Department of Energy’s March 31 proposal to amend the timeline and other features of the 2010 consent decree governing the retrieval and treatment of high-level radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Hanford consent decree is a binding agreement that flows from a 2008 lawsuit.
Last month, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz met with the governor and the attorney general to discuss the federal government’s revised proposal. Inslee and Ferguson were underwhelmed. In October, the Energy Department informed Ferguson that the feds were at “substantial risk” for failing to meet three consent-decree milestones. Those delays will have a domino effect on all the agreed-to deadlines for the Hanford waste-treatment plant designed to transform high-level radioactive waste into glassified “logs.”
“The people of our region made a significant sacrifice for our nation when the U.S. selected the Hanford site to produce plutonium as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II,” Ferguson said in a statement Friday. “Today’s announcement should serve as notice to Energy that we are considering taking the next legal step as early as next week.”
For its part, the U.S. Department of Justice (the feds’ army of attorneys against Washington’s platoon) rebuffed the state’s proposed amendments.
“DOE cannot accept it for a number of reasons,” they wrote, “including the fact that it does not adequately account for the realities of technical-issue resolution, project management imperatives, and fiscal constraints.”
“Fiscal constraints” is code for cover-your-budget. DOE has the funding to address what it terms in its just-released strategic plan, “the legal and moral imperative of cleaning up legacy nuclear waste to protect human health and the environment.” (Alas, that moral imperative only merits half a page in DOE’s 32-page vision.)
Inslee and Ferguson will trigger the 40-day dispute-resolution phase as early as today. If that collapses, the issue will be kicked back to the court, which is institutionally prone to do the right thing — something the feds hope to sidestep.
Enough can-kicking. Hanford cleanup needs to become DOE’s highest priority.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we wonít ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

Nothing but corn
Nothing but corn: Everett Mall business grew from a kernel of an idea
History at every turn
History at every turn: Website finds stories behind county's historic corners
Cold-weather playtime
Cold-weather playtime: Beyond skis & snowboards: 11 ways to have fun in winter
The real bottom line
The real bottom line: Millions spent in Oso, but generosity can't be measured
SnoCoSocial