Newhouse invites new Energy secretary to tour Hanford
U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse personally invited the new U.S. Secretary of Energy to tour the Hanford site so she can familiarize herself with the country’s largest defense nuclear cleanup site.
Newhouse, whose district includes Hanford, wants Secretary Jennifer Granholm to see the complicated undertaking for herself. In the same letter, he expressly denied a request from some leaders in Washington state to reject a Trump Administration rule to lower standards for the cleanup, calling it an unwarranted injection of politics into the important work.
“Hanford cleanup represents one of the most significant liabilities across the federal government, and it is vital that all partners in this important cleanup mission, including the federal government, congressional delegation, the state of Washington and local communities, work together in a concerted and responsible manner for the health and safety of communities,” he wrote.
Newhouse routinely invites new leaders to see the cleanup firsthand.
“I have done so with past administrations of both parties, and I will continue to do so moving froward,” he noted.
Granholm’s immediate predecessors, Ernest Moniz (May 21, 2013-Jan. 20, 2017), Rick Perry (March 2, 2017-Dec. 1, 2019) and Dan Brouillet (Dec. 11, 2019-Jan. 20, 2021), all toured Hanford in person.
DOE officials confirm Granholm intends to visit the site.
Newhouse did not just invite the new secretary to tour Hanford. He faulted a Feb. 26, 2021, letter written by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Washington State Director of Ecology Laura Watson, the Yakama Nation and other groups asking Granholm to “immediately” rescind the department’s interpretation of high-level radioactive waste.
“We believe this rule lays the groundwork for the department to abandon significant amounts of radioactive waste in Washington state precipitously close to the Columbia River, which is the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest,” the letter says.
Newhouse said the request is not supported in the community. He called it a “kneejerk letter” that could jeopardize “what should be the start of an important and productive working relationship with new DOE leadership.”
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