As the Hanford Advisory Board (HAB) begins its 25th year the challenges for the Board don’t get any easier. Cleaning up the legacy nuclear and chemical waste left behind by plutonium production at Hanford during the World War II Manhattan Project and through the cold war era continues to be a monumental job.
The HAB is a 32-seat board with its volunteer members representing an incredibly diverse set of interests, including nonprofit public interest organizations, tribal nations, local and state governments, Hanford employees, and the public at large.
The dedication of HAB members to the best, safest Hanford cleanup possible has resulted in 300+ pieces of consensus advice and white papers issued to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington Department of Ecology (Tri Party Agencies). The HAB issued five advice documents to the Tri-Party Agencies in 2018.
The HAB was scheduled to meet April 10-11 at the Richland Red Lion with a Public Involvement Committee meeting scheduled April 9 at the Richland Public Library. Adverse weather conditions and the government shutdown have rendered the HAB unable to meet since September 2018, so we planned to have a very substantive agenda for the April meeting. The HAB was to receive detailed progress and challenges updates from the Tri-Party Agencies. We were also reviewing budget priorities advice for consensus to be sent to the Department of Energy. There were committee meetings March 12-13 at the Richland Public Library to receive information and potentially help provide more detail for April agenda topics confirmed in March.
The HAB chair, vice chair and the chairs and vice chairs of committees meet with Tri-Party Agency staff each May to develop the following year’s work plan. The plan provides each committee and the full HAB a collaborative listing of issues and schedules to study, receive Tri-Party information and potentially provide advice on. The development of the work plan begins at the HAB committee level with the committee chair and vice chair carrying the committee input to the yearly planning meeting. This work plan process helps ensure that the HAB responds to Tri-Party Agencies’ requests for input on specific issues and events, plus it provides HAB members with opportunities to bring additional concerns and issue forward for consideration.
All Hanford Advisory Board meetings are open to the public and opportunities for public comment are provided at each HAB meeting. More information about the HAB, including meeting schedules, agendas, white papers, HAB values and mission statement, advice issued and Tri-Party agency responses can be found on the Hanford Advisory Board website https://www.hanford.gov/page.cfm/hab.