SENATE COMMITTEE ON

AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES

 

 

February 24, 2003                                                                                                   Hearing Room B

8:30 a.m.                                                                                                                         Tapes 22-23

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Frank Shields, Chair

Sen. Roger Beyer, Vice-Chair

Sen. Bill Fisher

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:          Sen. Tony Corcoran

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Judith Callens, Committee Administrator

Patricia Nielsen, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:           Informational Meeting

      Hanford Nuclear Site Report

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 22, A

005

Chair Shields

Calls committee meeting to order at 8:40 a.m.  Opens informational meeting.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING

Hanford Nuclear Site Report

015

Chair Ferrioli

Convenes the Senate Water and Land Use Committee as subcommittee.  Introduces Oregon State Hanford State Cleanup Board activities and discusses cleanup effort.

020

Michael Grainey

Oregon Office of Energy (OOE) Director.  Presents overview of Hanford issues.  Submits written outline of today’s presentation (EXHIBIT A).

135

Ken Niles

OOE Nuclear Safety Division Administrator.  Presents slide show describing the history and background of the Hanford site.  Submits written materials and videotape (EXHIBITS B, C).

250

Niles

Continues and discusses cleanup efforts at Hanford:

·         Successful cleanup of spent fuel and movement away from the Columbia River into safer storage conditions

·         Removal of threat of more contamination by movement of liquid waste out of single-walled tanks and into double-walled tanks

320

Niles

Continues and discusses three concerns:

·         Tank waste should be removed from tanks and solidified through vitrification process to turn the waste into a glass-like substance, which is still radioactive but does not move through the environment.

·         Groundwater contamination must be addressed

·         Impact of waste coming to Hanford for disposal from other areas in the nation has not been assessed

400

Niles

Summarizes and concludes.

TAPE 23, A

010

Armand Minthorn

Board of Trustees, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR).  Presents Tribal position on Hanford issues.  Submits written statement (EXHIBIT D).  Discusses Tribal concerns, participation in the cleanup efforts and primary objectives.

100

Minthorn

Encourages the committee to pass a proposed resolution regarding Hanford cleanup.  Discusses protection of salmon populations and water resources.

150

Sen. Ferrioli

Commends the Tribes for their commitment to the Hanford cleanup efforts.  Discusses issue of restoration of salmonid population in contrast to allowing Hanford contamination to continue unabated.

180

Chair Shields

Asks about treaty rights to ceded territory which is inaccessible due to Hanford contamination.

190

Minthorn

Elaborates on treaty rights within ceded area and within the Hanford reservation.

220

Sen. Ferrioli

Discusses the proposed memorial.

235

Minthorn

Offers to present Hanford information to the entire Senate.

240

Shelley Cimon

Oregon Hanford Waste Board Chair.  Discusses Board background and current activities.

340

Cimon

Continues and describes Board interaction with the U.S. Department of Energy and other regulatory agencies.  Discusses issues of concern:

·         Underground storage tanks

·         Groundwater contamination

390

Chair Shields

Comments the groundwater contamination is 2,800 times the safe level of radiation for river water.  Discusses threat to human health and salmon populations.

TAPE 22, B

005

Cimon

Continues and discusses challenges the Board is facing:

·         Funding limitations

·         Transport of waste and response plan for possible accident or spill

·         Return the Office of Energy to Department status

·         Change Board’s name to Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board

070

Norma Jean Germond

Oregon Hanford Waste Board member.  Discusses Board commitment to public outreach.  Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT E).  Explains goals of public education and involvement.

170

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments on the Tri-party agreement by which citizens of Washington state are prevented from using litigation to force cleanup actions to begin or continue:

·         Though Oregon citizens are not party, they have not established standing to sue either

·         Essential activities of Oregon Hanford Waste Board to raise public awareness and influence negotiations

240

Sen. Ferrioli

Explains half-life of radioactive materials.

270

Germond

Comments on how complicated the cleanup efforts have been.

290

Chair Shields

Asks about ongoing monitoring of contamination in the Hanford reach groundwater. 

320

Grainey

Discusses studies being conducted and cleanup goals.  Describes goal of intercepting contaminated groundwater.

345

Chair Shields

Inquires about possibilities when contaminated groundwater reaches the Columbia River.

355

Grainey

Responds and discusses pollution.

365

Chair Shields

Asks about legal standing to begin litigation.

375

Grainey

Discusses attempts to sue the federal government to enforce cleanup.

405

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments on tank leakage and movement of contaminated groundwater.

TAPE 23, B

005

Sen. Ferrioli

Continues and describes attempts to contain contaminated groundwater or remove and treat it.

040

Sen. Metsger

Asks about chemical reactions within the tanks.

055

Grainey

Responds and describes.

060

Cimon

Responds further.

065

Sen. Metsger

Asks about working with the current contractor and receiving information about cleanup efforts.

070

Germond

Explains interaction.

090

Cimon

Elaborates.

100

Doug Riggs

Hanford Information Network.  Discusses Network background.  Submits written material and CD-ROM (EXHIBITS F, G).

140

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks about budget for Hanford cleanup.

150

Riggs

Responds.

190

Sen. Ferrioli

Describes committee bill to rename the Office of Energy to Department of Energy, and the Hanford Waste Board to the Hanford Cleanup Board.

220

Riggs

Presents slides to illustrate the impact of Hanford contamination:

·         Progress in cleanup

·         Public involvement

300

Sen. Ferrioli

Concludes and urges continued efforts in education and cleanup.  Discusses LC 2513, which will be introduced today as SM 1 (EXHIBIT H).  Closes informational meeting.  Adjourns the committee at 9:28 a.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – Informational Hanford, presentation outline, Michael Grainey, 1 p

B – Informational Hanford, binder, Ken Niles, oversized exhibit

C – Informational Hanford, videotape, Ken Niles, oversized exhibit

D – Informational Hanford, written testimony, Armand Minthorn, 8 pp

E – Informational Hanford, written testimony, Norma Germond, 2 pp

F – Informational Hanford, brochure, Doug Riggs, 2 pp

G – Informational Hanford, CD-ROM, Doug Riggs, oversized exhibit

H – Informational Hanford, LC 2513 draft, staff, 3 pp