Prepared Remarks of John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Announcing the Hanford Site Cleanup Agreement

August 11, 2009

RICHLAND, Wash., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Following are the prepared remarks of John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division:

This is a historic settlement. I am here on behalf of Attorney General Eric Holder who has said the following to mark this occasion:

“I am pleased the parties have come together after years of effort to reach these important agreements that set Washington state, Oregon and the federal government on a pathway to cleaning up this site. These historic settlements reflect the administration’s strong commitment to environmental protection here in the Pacific Northwest and around the country.”

Secretary Chu and Attorney General Holder directed Department of Justice leadership to work with Washington state to attempt to find common ground in this important case. The Federal and state attorneys then worked tirelessly to come up with creative solutions to what appeared to be a set of intractable problems. In making this decision, the Department of Justice was guided by its commitment to environmental restoration, the protection of human health and the environment, and full compliance with the law.

It has also been our great pleasure to represent both DOE and EPA in reaching this agreement. Secretary Chu has provided extraordinary leadership and his commitment to the full cleanup of Hanford is well known.

The length of time and scientific complexity of the Hanford cleanup presented new challenges for everyone involved in the process to come up with an agreement that is clear and protective of the environment, yet respectful of the proper roles of all of the parties. We believe we have done that. While the ultimate agreements have complicated parts, they weave together to create a process that is both protective and supportive, providing an aggressive schedule for critical cleanup activities, all available information on progress and developments and a continuing review and re-evaluation process. Both the State of Washington and the U.S. Department of Justice are seeking public comment, and we will carefully review anything that we receive.

I also want to specifically commend the men and women of the Department of Energy who work each day to cleanup this site and protect the environment. I am sure many of you are here today. In particular, the DOE’s Richland Operations Office and the Office of River Protection are the reason all of us can stand here today, looking confidently to the future. They know well the challenges and rewards of Hanford cleanup as they are members of the community. To you all, I give special thanks and assure you the settlements announced today will greatly cleanup operations by providing certainty, direction and cooperation.

In closing, it is indeed a great day for the environment, and everyone involved should take great pride in this accomplishment.

Thank you.

For more information please click on the joint press release linked below.


SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

Source: newswire

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