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: Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
In Our View/Hanford Nuclear Reservation


The feds show their hand

Attention to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation corresponds to its distance from Washington, D.C.’s political class. If Hanford and its 56 million gallons of highly radioactive crud sat on the Potomac and not the Columbia River, care and attention to its clean-up might be a wee more pronounced.
On Monday, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz met with Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to discuss the federal government’s revised clean-up proposal. Flying to Olympia with his department team, Moniz hoped to avoid triggering the 2010 Hanford Cleanup Consent Decree, a binding agreement that flows from a 2008 lawsuit. But bypassing the decree’s legal hammer requires delivering more than good intentions. After their meeting, the governor sounded underwhelmed.
“Unfortunately, the draft that was shown to us this morning did not contain the comprehensiveness and level of detail that the state has requested for months from our federal partners,” Inslee said in a statement.
Last June, Moniz informed Inslee that the department wouldn’t meet two 2014 deadlines related to the consent decree. These projects include waste retrieval from two of Hanford’s aging single-shell tanks and finishing construction of a Low Activity Waste Facility (“low activity” being the operative description of work thus far.) The department has missed two other waste-treatment deadlines sans explanation.
“We made it clear last month we were expecting a comprehensive plan for a path forward, and I was disappointed with the scope of the federal government’s approach,” Ferguson said. “My legal team and I will be reviewing the information we received today and continuing our work to provide all available legal options to our clients — the governor and the Department of Ecology — to enforce the obligations set forth in our 2010 consent decree and the Tri-Party Agreement requiring the U.S. Dept. of Energy to clean up the Hanford site.”
Last year, the Energy Department announced that seven of 177 underground tanks at Hanford were leaking (a “decrease of liquid level” in department-speak.) Inslee worked to develop a friendly dialogue with the new Energy secretary, hoping that soft elbows would persuade a hidebound department to keep its promises.
Say goodbye to the soft elbows. The governor and attorney general are prepared to trigger the consent decree, ideally acting before the end of the month.
The end game is a real cleanup in real time. There’s no other choice.

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 won’t 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

Lofty potential for drones
Lofty potential for drones: Aircraft could be used in real estate, other businesses
A community of kindness
A community of kindness: Seahawks home a display of affection for couple's daughter
Looking for a friend?
Looking for a friend?: Animals up for adoption at the Everett shelter (7 new photos)
Super snacks
Super snacks: Best finger-food recipes to make for the big game
SnoCoSocial