The U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE), Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that negotiating teams have reached conceptual agreement in Holistic Negotiations on revising plans for managing millions of gallons of waste stored in tanks at the Hanford Site.
The conceptual agreement upholds the Tri-Party Agencies’ shared commitment to a safe, effective, and achievable path forward.
This achievement is the result of nearly three years of discussions and more than 60 mediation sessions. Additionally, President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposal for USDOE aligns with the conceptual agreement. The agencies are now drafting potential amendments to the Washington v. Granholm Consent Decree and the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) that will reflect the conceptual agreement.
While this drafting process is underway, the agencies are restricted from discussing further details by the confidentiality terms of a mediation agreement between the agencies and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Any resulting proposed settlements, including potential modifications to the Consent Decree and TPA, remain subject to review and approval by state and federal officials.
Once the proposed Consent Decree and TPA changes are drafted and approved by state and federal officials, a public notice with detailed information will be shared and public comment periods will be held on the proposed changes. No agreement is final until that public comment process is complete, the federal district court accepts the proposed Consent Decree amendments, and the agencies execute the proposed revisions.
For background information on Hanford, visit Energy’s Hanford website and Ecology’s website.
See a PDF version of the announcement here.