Hanford's Cleanup Project Deserves Support

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Nov. 1 news story "Nuclear Cleanup Site Has Cities Cleaning Up Financially," about the economics of cleaning up the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state, doesn't reflect all the facts and the real threat the site poses for the Pacific Northwest.

Hanford is not only the most contaminated Superfund hazardous waste site in America; it also threatens the Columbia River, the lifeblood of the Northwest, and is a danger to public health and safety. Without adequate cleanup, it is a potential target for terrorism and threatens the economic vitality of the region. Along with members of Congress who have fought for us, I continue to call for stable funding to clean up this deadly waste.

Several performance reviews and media reports have heightened concerns about cost overruns and construction mistakes -- problems that Tri-Cities residents did not create. We need stability and funding. We need real management and a commitment by the federal government to get the job done.

The Hanford reservation was vital to America's defense. The people of the Tri-Cities have done their part to win America's wars, including the Cold War's nuclear standoff. In return, America made a promise to clean up the mess left behind.

Time is not on our side. America cannot turn its back on its responsibility at Hanford and to the people of the Northwest.



Olympia, Wash.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company