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 InsleeJay Robert InsleeOregon to require schools to teach about Holocaust The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race MORE (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 PerrySenior Trump administration official to leave post next week Overnight Energy: Trump doesn't mention climate change in speech touting environmental policies | Green groups fight EPA's new FOIA rule | Trump emissions rollback hit with legal challenge Trump touts environmental policies, but says nothing of climate change 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.