April 24, 2014 | Vol.54 N.17

Governor, Attorney General take next legal step to keep Hanford cleanup on track

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*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Press Release Header

April 23, 2014

*Governor, Attorney General take next legal step to keep Hanford cleanup on track*

*"State triggers dispute resolution" *

*OLYMPIA… *Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced they are triggering dispute resolution after the federal government Friday formally rejected Washington state’s plan to amend a 2010 consent decree [ http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/nwp/2008lawsuit_settlement.htm ] governing the retrieval and treatment of high-level radioactive and chemically hazardous waste at Hanford

“The state put forward a proposal in order to keep Hanford cleanup on track, and while there has been progress from the federal government in proposing creative ways for moving forward with elements of cleanup, we need to see substantial improvement in order to ensure that our agreed-upon deadlines for waste removal and treatment are met,” Inslee said. “This is the federal government’s responsibility to the citizens of Washington. It is important that we keep this discussion moving forward.”

“We have been disappointed with the federal government’s lack of commitment to its responsibility to clean up Hanford,” Ferguson said. “We will continue to use the legal tools at our disposal to force the federal government to accept a plan that increases accountability, protects the environment and public, and reduces further delays.”

The state announced its proposed amendments to the consent decree at a news conference on March 31 [ http://www.atg.wa.gov/pressrelease.aspx?&id=32014 ]. The federal government announced its proposal on March 31 as well. Washington state formally rejected the federal government’s proposal on Friday, April 18. The federal government sent a letter later that same day rejecting the state’s proposal.

The state today sent a letter to the federal Department of Justice [ http://atg.wa.gov/uploadedFiles/Home/News/Press_Releases/2014/04-23-14LtrTriggeringDisputeResolution.pdf ], triggering dispute resolution, which initiates a 40-day process of good faith negotiation required under the 2010 Consent Decree.

If the state and federal governments cannot reach agreement, the state may then ask a federal court to issue an order directing the federal Department of Energy to implement the state’s plan.

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Contacts:

Jaime Smith, Governor Inslee’s Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Janelle Guthrie, Attorney General’s Director of Communications, 360-586-0725

Dieter Bohrmann, Ecology communications manager, 509-372-7954

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