Sen. Cantwell speaks out against Trump's proposed Hanford budget cut

By:  Megan Magensky
Source: KEPR.com

President Trump’s budget proposal for 2020 cuts spending to Hanford by 18%.

Senator Maria Cantwell visited the Hanford site to see the work being done there. Then she sat down with union representatives and employees to hear what they think the budget cuts could mean.

Senator Cantwell says she is committed to finding funding to clean up Hanford and keep employees there safe. Employs say Hanford is in a stable, interim place now. If they lose funding, a lot of the progress they've made will be lost.

“We have families to feed, kids to raise and colleges to pay for,” said Mike Bosse, President of Central Washington Construction and Trades.” So sustainable work out at Hanford is very important.”

President Trump's 2020 budget cuts equate to about $1.2 billion.

“This year’s budget has to accurately fund what is needed out at Hanford to continue to make progress,” Sen. Cantwell said.

After spills and worker safety accidents in recent years, Sen. Cantwell says Hanford funding is a high priority.

“We want to make sure that Hanford is cleaned up and that workers are safe,” she said.

Representative Dan Newhouse is on the same page. Releasing this statement Wednesday to Action News.

“These budget request numbers would fall short of fulfilling the federal government’s obligation to clean up the Hanford site. As we have seen in budgets offered by President Obama and in previous budgets of the current administration, the presidential budget is a statement of priorities. I have serious concerns which I made clear to Energy Secretary Perry to ensure the federal government fulfills its legal and moral duty to the people of Central Washington. As an Appropriator, I will work across the aisle and with our senators to get the job done.”

Hanford employees say the clean up is in a good place. Projects are well on their way. The change in funding now could halt the progress.

“Our members will find employment elsewhere and all the investment money for their training in site specific scopes of work at Hanford will be lost,” Bosse said. “Contractors will send more people into the training (which means) more cost.”

Senator Cantwell says safety is another big concern.

There are going to be unexpected things, that's why we have to plan with a budget that we are confident will meet the milestones in the agreement,” Sen. Cantwell said.

Employees say they'll keep doing what's necessary at Hanford until they have more answers.

“We get up, put our boots on and go to work business as usual,” Bosse said.