The Department of Energy and its regulators need to resume in-person Hanford State of the Site meetings, according to the Hanford Advisory Board.
It sent a letter of advice to DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology on Thursday asking that meetings be held annually, starting in the coming spring at multiple sites around the region.
The three agencies held a virtual State of the Site on the internet earlier this year, but have not held an in-person State of the Site since spring 2014. For several years before that, the meetings were held sporadically rather than annually.
“The board believes that in-person meetings with decision makers demonstrate a true commitment to the goals of transparency and public policy deliberation,” the board said.
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It has made similar requests in the past.
The meetings give the public, Hanford workers and workers’ families a chance to ask questions on any topic and hear directly from top Hanford officials.
In past meetings, people have asked about rumored layoffs, pension changes, chemical vapor exposures and the future use of land that has been cleaned up. They have shared their opinions on priorities for cleanup and protection of workers, the public and the environment.
Representatives of both the Department of Ecology and the EPA said at a Hanford Advisory Board meeting that they support State of the Site meetings.