Sealaska Environmental Services has been awarded a contract to clean up part of the Hanford Reach National Monument, with the provision that Eastern Washington and Oregon tribal members do the work.
The $750,000 contract required a memorandum of understanding under the CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. and the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council collective bargaining agreement.
"With this (memorandum), we're providing local tribal members the opportunity to gain valuable working skills for future opportunities while continuing to support DOE's environmental cleanup efforts," said Dave Molnaa, HAMTC president.
About 10 tribal members will be hired and will become temporary teamsters of Local 839. The local, an affiliate of HAMTC, normally would do the work.
The agreement required an extension of the usual length of time considered temporary, but Molnaa said he was interested in the project after discussions with the Department of Interior on providing jobs for tribal members.
The work is being paid for with federal economic stimulus money, a program that HAMTC believes has been valuable to the Tri-City area, Molnaa said.
"The tribal nations have strong cultural ties to the Hanford site, so we are pleased with the opportunity CH2M Hill and HAMTC are providing local tribal members," said Matt McCormick, manager of the Department of Energy Hanford Richland Operation Office, in a statement.
In addition to paying tribal members, the $750,000 also covers management, administrative support, hiring, training and developing health and safety plans, according to CH2M Hill.
The work includes cleaning up debris on about 170 acres of the Wahluke Slope area north of the Columbia River. The land that historically was used by the tribes became the security buffer zone around the production portion of the Hanford nuclear reservation during World War II. It now is managed as part of the national monument.
Anti-aircraft artillery and missiles were found on the Wahluke Slope, but no work was done there to produce plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program.
The debris includes abandoned cars, dumped furniture, wire, concrete pads, unused power lines and trash, according to CH2M Hill.
Sealaska is an Alaska native corporation with more than 20,000 tribal members with Alaska tribes as shareholders. The business focuses on environmental stewardship and cleanup.
* Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org