Senate panel advances bill to boost nuclear waste cleanup funding

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) | Contributed photo
The Senate Budget Committee advanced an amendment, introduced by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), to the fiscal year 2016 budget last week that would increase funding for the Department of Energy’s nuclear waste cleanup program, which includes the Hanford site in central Washington.

“Cleaning up the Hanford site is one of our state’s top environmental priorities, and I have been crystal clear with my expectation that the federal government meet its milestones at nuclear waste cleanup sites.” Murray said. “And the administration – under both Democratic and Republican control – has consistently failed to meet this threshold.”

The amendment would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation to increase nuclear waste cleanup nationwide.

The president’s proposed fiscal year 2016 budget includes a $5.8 billion national budget for environmental management priorities nationwide -- $200 million more than the 2015 fiscal year budget proposal.  The proposed 2016 budget is still $43 million below what Congress approved in the FY15 Omnibus Appropriation bill, which would cut the funding at nine out of 16 nuclear waste cleanup sites.

Hanford represents two of 16 nuclear waste cleanup sites that depend on funding from the office of environmental management.

 “This amendment allows for increased funding to the Office of Environmental Management to further promote cleanup of contaminated sites around the country," Murray said.

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