State will fight feds over Hanford worker compensation

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state of Washington will defend a new law that helps employees at a former nuclear weapons production site win worker compensation claims, after the federal government filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday criticized the lawsuit as outrageous and depraved.

The U.S. government filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court for the Eastern District of Washington.

The state Legislature last spring passed a law that says some cancers and other illnesses among Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers are assumed to be due to chemical or radiological exposures at Hanford, unless that presumption can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons and thousands of workers are now engaged in cleaning up the resulting radioactive waste.