25 February 2010

Update on Hanford Hearings around the Northwest

Six of the eight hearings on Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump are now over - as Heart of America Northwest turns to focus on the final two (Eugene on 3/1 & Seattle on 3/8), we also have a few thoughts & triumphs to share about the past hearings.

This week saw the La Grande, OR hearing on Monday and the Spokane, WA hearing on Tuesday nights.  They both went very well with larger than expected turnouts in both cities, thanks to intense organizing efforts by stakeholders, including HOANW.  There were around 80 in attendance in La Grande & 60 in Spokane!  In Spokane, we had three City Council Members testify (Bob Apple and Amber Waldref are on our board of directors so it wasn't a surprise to us that they gave great testimpny, but it was a surprise to the USDOE)! See the article in the Spokesman-Review, which ran prominently at the top of the local section yesterday morning.

The misrepresentations from USDOE continue: We had another testy exchange with USDOE when the manager in charge of the hearings, Mary Beth Burandt, told the audience that Spokane was not on the truck routes to Hanford. Sound familiar? Just like in Portland! However, Spokane City Council Member Bob Apple exposed this as false during the Q and A period, forcing Burandt to admit that radioactive waste trucks very well might come through Spokane on I-90.

Burandt and WA State's spokespeople continue to use language implying that the current legally enforceable moratorium on importing waste will not end with the issuance of this Environmental Impact Statement.  However, they've repeatedly failed to note that the proposed extension of the moratorium (until the vitrification plant operates) is simply an unenforceable USDOE promise.

What's next?

  • Eugene: HOANW's Executive Director, Gerry Pollet, is heading to Eugene today to give a pre-hearing workshop at a conference at the University of Oregon.  Brent Foster, now with the OR Attorney General's Office and formerly with Columbia Riverkeeper, and Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge will be joining me at our workshop at 10:30am on Saturday.
  • The Eugene hearing is Monday, March 1st at 7pm at the Hilton.  As always, HOANW will be hosting a pre-hearing workshop to help you prepare comments at 6pm.
  • The final hearing is in Seattle on March 8th (7pm at Seattle Center - Northwest Rooms, Lopez Room).  
  • HOANW & Hanford Challenge are hosting a FREE, fun & interactive workshop featuring local improv actor Matt Smith on Saturday, March 6th, 10:30am at Hugo House.
Submit Your Comments!
The comment period runs through March 19th - Email your opposition to making Hanford a national radioactive waste dump right now!  For more background information, see HOANW's Citizens' Guide.

1 comment:

  1. If you are in Eugene, the workshop on Saturday morning in Law 142 is ope to everyone, not just conference attendees. Hope to see you there, or stop by our table.