Dispute resolution deadline extended over hazardous waste in Washington

By Bryan Cohen | Jun 12, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced an agreement on Wednesday to extend the 40-day dispute resolution triggered under a 2010 court order to clean up hazardous waste at Hanford.

Ferguson and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said they agreed to the extension to allow for additional discussions, including another full day in-person meeting between the parties. The extended discussions will help the parties explore whether an agreement can be reached on a path forward to clean up Hanford.

"The people of Washington deserve a plan that provides specificity, accountability, and enforceability for the federal clean-up and treatment of nuclear waste at the Hanford site," Ferguson said. "If these goals cannot be achieved through mutual agreement, the state remains prepared to seek relief from the federal court."

Since the 40-day dispute resolution period was triggered in late April, the parties met twice in person and once by video conference. The period ended on June 2. The extension will move the deadline to June 27.

"We all have a vested interest in determining a viable path forward in cleaning up Hanford and ensuring the federal government fulfills its legal obligations," Inslee said. "I appreciate (the U.S. Department of Energy's) participation in ongoing discussions and I hope that this extended time will prove useful in reaching an agreed-upon path forward for cleanup that will protect our people and state."

A 2010 court order to clean up high-level radioactive and chemically hazardous waste at Hanford triggered the 40-day dispute resolution period.

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