OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) – The office of Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that a U.S. District Court judge has resolved the state’s lawsuit against the federal government in the case of nuclear waste cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
"This ruling represents a big step in the right direction for our state. Cleaning up the legacy waste at Hanford is the federal government's legal and moral responsibility to the Tri-Cities community and the Pacific Northwest,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “I have been repeatedly frustrated by the delays and lack of progress toward meeting key milestones in waste cleanup and treatment. We cannot consider any further delays, and I am pleased that the court clearly agrees. I hope this ruling commences a new level of and progress and collaboration in clean up.”
Hard deadlines have been set for the three main components of the waste treatment plant’s completion and operation. By 2023, a plant to treat low-activity waste must be completed. This is a crucial step in the cleanup effort. By 2031, a pretreatment facility to separate Hanford’s tank waste into low-activity and high-level waste streams must start operations. By 2032, treatment must begin at the high-level waste facility.
“This ruling is a significant victory for the people of Washington,” Ferguson said. “The federal government has long been more focused on excusing its delays than being a good partner in cleaning up the toxic mess they left behind at Hanford.”