OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire and Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today on the decision by Oregon to join Washington in litigation to compel the U.S. Department of Energy to complete the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation “We’re pleased that Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has joined us in this important lawsuit. The federal cleanup at Hanford has been far too slow in achieving the critical environmental results mandated in the three-party cleanup agreement, which the federal government committed to. Washington and Oregon depend on clean, safe water to support their economies and the health and well being of their citizens. In the Washington and Oregon counties south of Hanford, 57,000 companies rely on water to provide 780,000 jobs.
“Washington state negotiated in good faith for an acceptable change in the cleanup schedule. The negotiations failed to produce an agreement with legal safeguards to make sure the federal government finishes the job of emptying the hazardous and radioactive waste from the tanks and appropriately treating it. We had no reasonable alternative but to file our lawsuit in November to seek relief from the U.S. District Court. We welcome Oregon’s support in this necessary litigation.”