Energy Secretary Steven Chu will look at speeding the transfer of 1,600 acres of Hanford nuclear reservation land for industrial development in response to a request by Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.
Inslee, who is running for governor, asked the energy secretary to expedite the process at a hearing Thursday of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
The Tri-City Development Council partnered with local governments to request transfer of the acreage planned for industrial use just north of Richland, which the Department of Energy no longer needs.
Industrial development, including for clean energy projects, could create thousands of jobs to help replace those that are lost as environmental cleanup at Hanford is gradually completed.
DOE action could take 18 months, but companies are interested in the land now, Inslee said.
Inslee also asked Chu about locating a commercial-scale biorefinery in Washington. Biofuels development has great potential, Chu said, and he would consider locating a biorefinery in Washington.