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Victory for Hanford

Great news: We just won another victory against the federal government - this time on behalf of Hanford workers.

Thanks to our lawsuit, Rick Perry and the U.S. Department of Energy have finally agreed to start protecting the health and safety of the men and women cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Hanford's underground tanks contain more than 56 million gallons of toxic waste – much of it radioactive – making it one of the most hazardous cleanup sites on the continent. The Hanford workers have one of the toughest, most important jobs in our state.

I shouldn't have needed to file a lawsuit to ensure their protection, but I did.

Vapors leaking from these tanks contain more than 1,000 different chemicals, many of which are highly toxic. For more than 20 years, hundreds of Hanford workers suffered serious health problems, including heart, lung, and kidney problems, nerve damage, and brain disorders.

Yet the federal government refused to protect workers. Working with Hanford Challenge and the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local union, my office filed suit to force our federal government to do the right thing and keep workers safe.

Now, at last, the federal government signed an enforceable agreement to install monitoring and alarm systems, supply personal protective equipment, and develop technology that will capture and destroy the vapors. Our suit has only been put on hold, so if we're not satisfied with how this is going, we can go back to court.

On top of that, Jeff Sessions agreed to cut a check for nearly a million dollars that will be used in part to reimburse Washington taxpayers for the cost of bringing the action.

Our victory sends a message that worker safety can never be compromised. The federal government will no longer be allowed to ignore the plight of workers at Hanford.

And if they try, working Washingtonians can always count on my office to fight for them.


Posted on October 13, 2018.