Cantwell tells treasury secretary to make Hanford a priority

Maria Cantwell
Maria Cantwell

A day after the Obama administration released a proposal for a reduced Hanford budget, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was raising the issue in a Senate Committee hearing.

“I want to put the administration on notice that this is something we need to prioritize in the budget, and we need to work together on,” she told Jack Lew, the treasury secretary. Lew testified Wednesday before the Finance Committee.

Hanford is the largest environmental cleanup project in the world and needs continued support and focus on its challenges, Cantwell said.

The administration has proposed a $190 million budget cut for the Department of Energy Richland Operations Office in fiscal 2017, which would be a 19.2 percent reduction. The Richland Operations Office is responsible for groundwater cleanup, decommissioning and demolition of contaminated buildings, excavation of waste sites and sitewide operation of the nuclear reservation.

The budget proposal also included a proposed $86 million increase, or 6.1 percent increase, for the DOE Office of River Protection. It is responsible for radioactive waste stored in underground tanks and the vitrification plant being built to treat the waste.