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UA 598 thanks Sen. Murray for record Hanford funding

The following is from UA Local 598:

PASCO, Wash. (March 7, 2024) — A union representing hundreds of Hanford workers is crediting — and thanking — Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the Chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, for her role in securing record federal funding for cleanup at the decommissioned nuclear production complex in Eastern Washington. The Hanford funding is included in the bicameral, bipartisan package of six final fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills that Congress aims to approve before Saturday to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government, including the Department of Energy.

“We are immensely grateful for Senator Patty Murray’s steadfast dedication and leadership in securing a historic $3.035 billion for the Hanford cleanup project,” said Nickolas Bumpaous, Business Manager for United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters (UA) Local 598, who is pictured above with Murray. “This unprecedented funding not only reflects her commitment to the environmental restoration of one of the nation’s most critical sites, but also her unwavering support for the health and safety of every worker involved in this mission.”

He added:

“Senator Murray’s role as the Senate Appropriations Chair has been instrumental in ensuring that the federal government fulfills its responsibility towards the Hanford site and its workers. Her tireless advocacy guarantees that we can continue our work in a safer, more supported environment, contributing to the wellbeing of our community and the sustainability of our region. We commend Senator Murray for her exceptional efforts in championing the needs of Eastern Washington and for her continued focus on the safety and health of the workforce at Hanford. Her actions speak volumes of her dedication to both our immediate community and the broader environmental goals we all share.”

The union’s praise of Murray’s efforts was echoed by other Hanford stakeholder groups.

“As Hanford enters a critical cleanup phase, we welcome the $3.035 billion budget. Make no mistake, insufficient funds for Hanford cleanup now will lead to increased long-term costs and more delays,” said Nikolas Peterson, Executive Director of Hanford Challenge. “(We) extend our gratitude to Senator Patty Murray for her tireless advocacy in securing this critical funding. Senator Murray’s leadership has once again paved the way toward a safer, cleaner Hanford.”

UA Local 598 also thanked the rest of Washington’s congressional delegation for their roles is securing funding for Hanford cleanup and other priorities for Washington’s working families. Bumpaous said:

“We also extend our heartfelt thanks to Senator Maria Cantwell and the entire Washington State congressional delegation for their hard work and dedication to the people of Washington. Their collaborative efforts, alongside Senator Murray, in championing our state’s needs at the national level, play a critical role in securing the resources necessary for impactful projects like the Hanford cleanup.

“This teamwork exemplifies the commitment of our elected representatives to ensure a safer, healthier, and more prosperous future for all Washingtonians. Their united front in addressing our state’s unique challenges, from environmental restoration to worker safety, underscores a shared vision for a better Washington state. We are proud to have such dedicated leaders advocating for us in Congress, and we thank them for their unwavering support and tireless work on behalf of our state.”

Murray said the funding bills were drawn up under “really tough fiscal constraints,” but that they “reflect my efforts to put Washington state first.” She added:

“Whether it was protecting funding for Puget Sound restoration efforts, supporting the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, delivering a record investment for Hanford cleanup, or securing a down payment on the Howard Hanson dam fish passage facility—I made sure no corner of Washington state was left behind as I wrote these funding bills.

“I took the voices of Hanford workers, moms relying on WIC, Tribal members fighting to save our salmon, farmers in the Tri-Cities—voices from every single part of Washington state—directly to the negotiating table with me as I fought to make sure they were heard in our government spending bills.”

Murray reports that she helped secure $4.79 billion in total funding for Washington state, which does not include funding for national programs that will later be allocated on a competitive or formula-specific basis. In addition to the $3 billion-plus for Hanford, that includes $1.568 billion for projects and activities in Washington and $188.4 million in Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) for local projects across Washington state in the six final funding bills that comprise the package. A full, searchable list of funded CDS projects is available here.

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