10 August 2010

Hot news: We file suit to overturn USDOE's decision to use Hanford as a National Radioactive Waste Dump!

Story running in the Tri-City Herald: "Heart of America files suit over sending waste to Hanford."

This week, Heart of America Northwest filed suit in federal court to stop the use of Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump. The United States Department of Energy continues plans to import and bury 3 million cubic feet of radioactive and toxic wastes from nuclear weapons and energy facilities in landfills near the Columbia River at Hanford, despite their own study showing that this action will contaminate the Columbia River and result in numerous cancer deaths over the next hundred years (and even through ten thousand years).

Thousands of truckloads of radioactive waste would go through Portland, Spokane and other communitites. Studies show that transporting radioactive waste can also cause fatal cancers in communities along the routes, even if there are no accidents.

We filed the suit because Washington State has not barred the United States Department of Energy (USDOE) from dumping more waste at Hanford in the Hanford Cleanup Agreement (aka Tri-Party Agreement) and/or in state permits.

We have also found that Washington State allowed USDOE to open a landfill for radioactive and toxic chemical wastes in the 1990's without a permit or public hearings.

Earlier in 2010, we led the effort to turn out hundreds of people in Washington and Oregon to comment on USDOE's new environmental impact statement. In the document, USDOE's own analysis of their plan to import 3 million cubic feet of waste shows cancer risks exceeding 10% for people who would use the Columbia River or Hanford's groundwater as drinking water in the future.

Despite this harrowing revelation, USDOE refused to withdraw the 2004 decision designating Hanford to receive these wastes, so we are forced to go to court.

In July, the New York Times quoted us in an article highlighting Robert Alvarez's study documenting that there is almost three times more Plutonium in the soil at Hanford than USDOE previously estimated.

Our lawsuit comes at a time when USDOE proposes dumping more waste instead of removing and cleaning up the wastes already at Hanford - in leaking, unlined landfills and ditches.

Please contact the Governor of Oregon and/or Washington and urge them to join us in suing USDOE to stop their plans to use Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump.

HUGE thank you's to our Seattle University and University of Washington Law School externs Jessica Dales, Adam Woodford, Alec Osenbach, Abe Kaul; and Gonzaga University School of Law Environmental Law Clinic Director Mike Chappell and extern Sarah Minkler for all of their hard work on the suit!


  1. If it is public information, I would be interested in reading whatever legal documents or arguments you have prepared for the suit along with any evidence you have.

    Are these documents posted on this site somewhere? If so, where?

  2. @bluerasberry: Thanks for your interest! The legal documents aren't up on our blog or our website (but that's a good idea!). Why don't you send us an email (office@hoanw.org) and we can share the information with you/dialogue.

  3. The complaint filed in federal court is posted on our website - look for link on homepage just below link to this blog on our filing the suit.