Hanford

Richland man sues EPA over Hanford air permit

A Richland man has sued the Environmental Protection Agency to force it to take action on a Clean Air Act operating permit for the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Bill Green claims the Washington State Department of Ecology failed to take action on the permit by a 2015 deadline.

The Clean Air Act allows citizens to file a lawsuit if they may be affected.

Green says that as a Richland resident, his health could be harmed by radionuclide pollutants released into the air at nearby Hanford.

The Washington state Department of Health is not named in the lawsuit, but does air sampling at Hanford to verify the accuracy of the Department of Energy sampling.

“Based on inspections of the Hanford Site and review of the Hanford annual radiation air emissions report, the Hanford Site emissions are well below the national ambient air standards,” said the Department of Health in a statement. Emissions are also within state standards.

The Clean Air Act allows citizens to file a lawsuit if they may be affected. Bill Green says that as a Richland resident, his health could be harmed by radionuclide pollutants released into the air at nearby Hanford.

Green previously petitioned the EPA in 2013 and 2014, asking it to object to the air operating permit issued by the Department of Ecology.

On May 29, 2015, the EPA responded, denying most of Green’s claims but agreeing that the Department of Ecology did not adequately respond to certain public comments.

The state failed to take action to resolve the issue within 90 days of the EPA decision, which triggers an obligation for the EPA administrator to issue or deny the operating permit, Green said in court documents.

The state reissued the permit with revisions and responses to comments in July 2016, but that does not change the EPA’s obligations since the action was late, according to the lawsuit.

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