Editor's note: The candidates' responses to the following question are exactly as submitted, without any editing.
1) What should be Congress' role in ensuring that Hanford is appropriately cleaned up? Is this an appropriate place to reduce federal spending?
This is absolutely not the place to reduce spending. Growing up my father taught me that a promise made is a promise kept and the Federal government must uphold their promise to clean up Hanford. This means that they're held accountable for getting back on track with the milestones of the project as stated in the Tri-Party Agreement signed in 1989.
The federal government, through the Department of Energy (DOE) is contractually bound by the Tri-Party Agreement to complete Hanford cleanup within specific deadlines. As a result, Congress is legally bound and morally obligated to fund Hanford cleanup at the level necessary to meet the deadlines set forth in the Tri-Party Agreement.
In a period of budgetary crisis, Congress might consider directing DOE to request an amendment to the Tri-Party Agreement, allowing cleanup to proceed under different deadlines, which could better match available funds. But, this may only occur with the consent of all signatories to the Tri-Party Agreement and those who have a direct stake in the process. Obviously, environmental concerns are paramount, and any deadline change that would have an adverse environmental effect is unacceptable.
As Congressman, I will be a strong advocate for Hanford cleanup, and I will insure that Hanford spending is properly recognized as a national defense cost, not as mere "pork," which some journalists have called it. I will work with our entire Washington State delegation in D.C. to insure that Hanford cleanup continues to receive the funding necessary to pay off the nation's debt to our community.
(Editors note: We received Didier’s answer July 23)
The Hanford facility and the good people that have worked there over the years have played an important role in defending the free world. Sacrifices to our environment here in the Pacific Northwest remain a part of the collateral damage of WW2. It is only right that the entire nation steps up with resources to allow the Columbia Basin community to complete this undertaking. Count on Congressman Didier to effectively cut through the red tape and provide new energy to complete the task.
Currently, the tangled bureaucratic web that reaches from the Potomac to the Columbia via the Department of Energy continues to stymie efforts for a permanent solution at Hanford. The safety of our communities demand that we find a way to get this massive cleanup done effectively and within our lifetime. We can do this if we have the will. The bureaucracies involved, including the U.S. Congress, must provide government oversight, not interference.
Finally, I believe that it can and must be done using existing tax revenues.
The Nation made a commitment to clean up Hanford, and it needs to keep its commitment. Hanford is a federal project, and it should be federal funds that pay for its cleanup.
Is this an appropriate place to reduce federal spending? No, with the exception that there should periodic audits to identify and eliminate any wasteful spending associated with the cleanup. Congress shouldn't give Hanford a blank check; there needs to be accountability. Timetables need to be kept. After recently revisiting Hanford, I am very impressed with the progress that has been made.
If I made a huge mess in my backyard, should I force my neighbors to help clean up my yard? The federal government is a complete failure when it comes to government projects. I believe, the best solution to this problem would be to end the Federal Reserve. How will this help? Well, it will return the value of our dollars. When our dollars are worth more, we'll have more money to pay to fund these projects. It'll also limit the federal government on its ability to start new projects which take away from the completion of other projects. The Federal Reserve won't be able to print the money to fund every little thing the federal government thinks it needs. This will bring back focus to completing projects instead of creating more projects. Though, I have heard that we could be making money off of Hanford by using the waste to produce tons of clean energy. Another possibility is that our state could step up to the plate and complete the cleanup without the federal government.
Congress should hold the federal government accountable for meeting all of its legal Hanford cleanup obligations to our state, and should ensure that federal agencies have the resources to get the job done. This requires renewed focus on a truly achievable and measurable path forward that meets cleanup commitments for all aspects of Hanford cleanup as safely, efficiently and quickly as possible.
Greater transparency from the federal government and more decision-making authority here rather than 3,000 miles away in Washington DC are needed to ensure that cleanup is conducted as safely, efficiently and quickly as possible. Short term cleanup goals must be met without losing sight of ultimate solutions for Hanford waste - like shipping some of it to Yucca Mountain.
While I believe there are many areas where we can cut federal spending and bring down our debt, Hanford cleanup is not one of them. Steady, stable funding is required if cleanup obligations are to be met. Existing legal obligations of the federal government like Hanford cleanup should come first, before expanding or creating new optional government programs.
Gordon Allen Pross
Candidate's answer includes attachments that won't copy.
No, this is not an appropriate place to reduce federal spending.
Since Congress has an approved plan to clean-up Hanford, they need to stick to their deadlines which are missed or late. Because of this, other productions are put on hold hindering the clean-up efforts and creating more danger and concern because of the radioactivity that cannot be guaranteed to be fully contained. At this rate, Congress has put the plan behind 20+ years if not actively progressing since Gov. Jay Inslee's amended plan was denied by Congress.
The federal government needs to fulfill it's obligation to get the Hanford mess cleaned up in a safe and timely manner. I believe we can make that more efficient by granting more State and local authority to better utilize the experts we have here that know how to deal with the problem best.
Glen R. Stockwell
Guaranteeing a yearly cash flow of Federal Cleanup Dollars to clean up the waste! My approach will be;
As your next Congressman, I will be demanding "Total Cost Recovery" from the Federal Government! Those monies will be placed into s "Washington State Non Revocable Hanford Cleanup Trust Account."
There currently exist alternative "Nuclear Reprocessing Methods" available today!
My approach will be to call a bipartisian meeting with the other 9 Representatives to discuss the issue.
I believe Senator Murray and other Representatives are fed up with the Federal Government! I will propose we invite Governor Inslee and Washington's Nuclear Scientist to participate! I believe it is time for the Washington State Congressional leaders along with the Governor and Washington State's lead Scientist to take control of this issue!
In my opinion, we can expediently and decisevely remedy the issue much sooner.
Why keep waiting on the federal government?
It is a form of political insanity! As your next Congressman, I will protect the citzens of the 4th District.
Is this an appropriate place to reduce federal spending?
No! Congress / US Government are responsible for the entire Cleanup cost! It's their mess and they are required to pay!
Candidate has not provided a response.