RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says she’s hoping the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s personal attention to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can avert a lawsuit over cleanup delays there. She made the comments today after a speech about Hanford in the Tri-Cities in southeast Washington.
Governor Gregoire has been ramping up the pressure on the federal government to clean up Hanford. She’s pushing for additional funding and wants engineers to sort through problems with the $12 billion plant being built to treat millions of gallons of radioactive waste here. The project has faced delays, tough engineering questions and challenges from multiple high-level whistleblowers.
She has warned Energy Secretary Steven Chu the state could take its list of grievances before a federal judge. But Gregoire says Chu told her last week, that he’s spending 10 hours a week personally dealing with Hanford’s major issues.
“Rather than run to litigation, I’m running to partnership to get this done," Gregoire says. "As long as it’s done in a timely way, which the Secretary committed to me it would be.”
Gregoire says this will likely be her last trip to the nuclear site, after 20 years of work on the issue as governor and attorney general.
Recent Gregoire letter to Secretary Chu:
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio
Wash. Governor Chris Gregoire says US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, shown here, told her last week, that he’s spending 10 hours a week personally dealing with Hanford’s major issues. Photo by Dept. of Energy