VIDEO: At Capitol Hill hearing, Senator Murray presses Energy Secretary Perry about BPA changes, as well as Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to Hanford cleanup and to Research at Pacific Northwest National Lab

President Trump’s proposed budget slashes Hanford investments by $326 million

Senator Murray presses Secretary Perry, reminding him of federal government’s legal and moral obligation to clean up Hanford site

Senator Murray also reiterated her strong opposition to Trump Administration’s attempts to privatize BPA’s transmission system  


(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, questioned U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry about the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which includes deep cuts not only to Hanford cleanup operations, but also to research and development being conducted at the Pacific Northwest National Lab, or PNNL. At today’s hearing, Senator Murray asked Secretary Perry specifically about his department’s decisions related to the Waste Treatment Plant, and warned Secretary Perry she could not support any proposals until the Department of Energy provided a thorough review and analysis to Congress, the State of Washington, and the Tri-Cities community. On PNNL, Senator Murray reminded Secretary Perry he himself had called our national labs “crown jewels,” and that the Trump Administration’s budget cuts would cause the loss of thousands of scientists and engineers, a “staggering” loss in knowledge and experience. Senator Murray also repeated calls for the Trump Administration to abandon attempts to sell off or privatize the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) transmission system.

(Watch the full Q&A between Senator Murray and Secretary Perry HERE.)

In a statement, Senator Murray said she would keep the pressure on the Administration to reverse course on its proposal to cut investments in Hanford cleanup.

“The President’s proposed cuts to Hanford cleanup are extremely disappointing, especially in the wake of recent events highlighting the hazards that must still be addressed and the risks this cleanup poses to workers, the public, and the environment,” Senator Murray said. “But I refuse to let Hanford workers and the Tri-Cities community be punished because the Trump Administration doesn’t understand or respect the federal government’s obligation to clean up the site. I am confident that Democrats and Republicans alike will again set aside this short-sighted proposal from the President, and then we can get back to the work of making sure Hanford has the resources needed to continue critical cleanup work, meet legal deadlines, and ensure strong worker safety protections at all times.”

Senator Murray has a track record of successfully fighting back against the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts. Last month, after months of negotiations, Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill that added more than $200 million for Hanford cleanup activities for a total of $2.42 billion across the Office of River Protection and Richland Operations budgets, rejecting the White House’s proposed cuts. The spending bill also included a historic $6.3 billion for the Office of Science, and $2.3 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which supports research and development activities at PNNL. In addition, the bill ensured BPA can continue to operate and maintain its transmission assets, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of the system in the Northwest.