Hanford Advisory Board seeks volunteers to increase representation

The Hanford Advisory Board, which provides a public voice to the Hanford cleanup mission, is seeking volunteers to increase representation.

The HAB has issued more than 300 advisories and recommendations in its 27-plus years. Its members are volunteers who dedicate themselves to learning all they can about Hanford cleanup, engage in civil discussion and reach consensus on advice that they hope will advance Hanford cleanup.

Its primary mission is to provide informed recommendations and advice to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Washington Department of Ecology – the parties to the Tri-Party Agreement, the legal agreement that governs the work.

The board receives information, presentations and engages in conversations with the Tri-Party agencies to become informed about cleanup issues and plans that affect or impact policy decisions.

The board aims to develop informed consensus, policy level recommendations and advice that represents the diverse opinions and perspectives of communities and organizations throughout the region.

It is also intended to be a component for Hanford tribal and public involvement and input, but not be the sole conduit for those activities.

Through its work, the board helps the agencies in focusing public involvement.

The board helps the broader public become more informed through open, public meetings. Members are expected to communicate with their constituents as well to help them remain informed and meaningfully involved in Hanford cleanup decisions.

One of its fundamental responsibilities is to respond to requests for policy-level advice from DOE, Ecology and EPA.

Each year, DOE, Ecology and EPA provide it with a draft work plan and receive its input in the finalized plan.

When new or emerging issues arise throughout the year, the TPA agencies may seek the board’s advice.

DOE, Ecology and EPA acknowledge that the board may identify additional issues of concern to its members, consult with TPA agencies and provide advice.

The board works through a committee process to become educated on cleanup issues. Committee members develop informed draft advice to bring to a full board meeting for a discussion and vote.

The completion of cleanup is a decades-long project and the demographics of the region continue to evolve.

DOE is seeking to evolve HAB membership to be representative of regional interests. If you or an organization you represent are interested in participating in this important work by joining the board, please contact Gary Younger of DOE at 509-302-3972.

Steve Wiegman is chairman of the Hanford Advisory Board.

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