Hanford land transfer completed on schedule

The Department of Energy signed over 1,641 acres of Hanford land to the Tri-City Development Council on Wednesday, meeting a deadline set for the transfer in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.

DOE took comments from the public on an environmental assessment and also consulted with tribes and the state of Washington before releasing a finding on Wednesday of “no significant impact” for the transfer.

The land is to be used for economic development, with 300 acres expected to be used for a solar energy project.

TRIDEC, which is designated by DOE as the agency to handle unneeded Hanford assets, requested the transfer with local governments. The Port of Benton and the city of Richland are expected to take over owning the land until it is developed.

DOE included some restrictions on use of the land, an irregularly shaped parcel north of Horn Rapids Road and east of Stevens Drive near Richland.

Vibrations from activities there may not interfere with scientific work at nearby Pacific Northwest National Laboratory or the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory at Hanford.

A memorandum of understanding has been developed with the tribes to mitigate for use of the land, including protection of archaeological resources and a native revegetation plan outside the transferred acreage.