Governors ask for more clean-up funding after nuclear waste site collapse

Governors ask for more clean-up funding after nuclear waste site collapse
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Two governors are urging the Trump administration to provide more funding for nuclear waste clean-up at a former weapons manufacturing facility in Washington. 

In a letter to President Trump and other top officials, Govs. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Kate Brown (D-Ore.) said the federal government should provide enough funding to “accelerate the safe and efficient cleanup of nuclear waste at Hanford,” a nuclear waste site in southeast Washington. 

The site garnered national headlines earlier this month when the roof of a tunnel holding thousands of gallons of nuclear waste caved in. Workers were able to repair the hole in the tunnel within days, and no one was harmed in the incident. 

But the governors said the accident “should serve as an urgent reminder of the challenges in cleaning up the Hanford site that require a rededication of attention and resources in order to ensure progress continues moving forward.”

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They urged the administration and Congress to provide more funding for the Department of Energy's Office of River Protection and the Richland Operations Office, the two departments that oversee Hanford’s clean-up. 

"Our states are eager to work with your administration, and both parties and chambers in Congress, to continue to increase funding for Hanford cleanup and DOE’s Office of Emergency Management,” Inslee and Brown wrote in a letter to Trump, Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryThe deep state is recklessly supporting bad energy policies Sierra Club sues Energy Department over long-awaited grid study Manchin eyed as potential pick for Energy secretary: report MORE and Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. 

“This funding should reach levels that will allow the federal government to meet its legal requirements and moral obligations to clean up Hanford and other nuclear waste sites across the country.”

Trump’s March budget blueprint proposed increasing funding for the Energy Department’s nuclear waste clean-up office. The administration is due to release its full, final budget proposal next week.

Between World War II and the end of the Cold War, the Hanford site produced radioactive material for the development of nuclear weapons, including the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

Today the site holds up to 56 million gallons of chemical and nuclear waste and the federal government is overseeing a decadeslong cleanup effort there.