When it comes to the country's most contaminated nuclear waste facility, members of Congress are making it clear, they won't accept anything less than a complete commitment to safety at the Hanford site in rural Washington state.
U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have called for action to protect workers at the federal government's Hanford site, which is currently in the midst of a decades-long clean-up effort. The site currently has millions of gallons of chemical waste stored in underground tanks.
"This is a moral and legal obligation from this country. We have to always make sure that worker safety comes first."
—Senator Patty Murray, (D) Washington
A months-long Circa investigation found workers at Hanford who claim they got sick after breathing in chemicals at the site. The issues they experienced are outlined in government reports and expert analysis that went routinely ignored according to safety advocates. We also discovered that while workers often struggle to get medical claims and compensation paid, the federal government has already paid out $1.3 BILLION to people harmed at Hanford.
Senator Murray's office confirmed to Circa that an audit will be conducted of a third-party company tasked with processing worker's compensation claims for Hanford. In a letter to the Inspector General for the Department of Energy, the lawmakers claim workers are being intimidated during the process and that their claims arbitrarily dismissed.
Both lawmakers also recently sent a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, urging the Department of Energy to implement recommendations made in several government reports dating back to 2014. Those reports are the focus of Circa's investigation into problems at the Hanford site.
WATCH Circa Investigates: Wasted Breath, Silence and Sickness at America's Largest Toxic Waste Dump