Dear President Biden,
As Members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation, we write to you regarding the importance of adequately funding the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) in the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) budget and beyond. This is a top priority for our constituents, the state of Washington, the communities surrounding DOE's Hanford Site, and regional Tribes.
As you know, this year marks the beginning of a very important milestone in cleanup at the site -- the successful launch of the Tank Side Cesium Removal system. This is the first step in turning low-level waste into glass, and we commend the efforts at the site and the entire Tri-Cities community in supporting this major milestone.
While significant cleanup progress has been made over the years, it is of the utmost importance that the federal government fund cleanup efforts at adequate levels for both Richland Operations and the Office of River Protection and with changing needs in mind. We are proud to work in concert and ensure that Hanford has the resources it needs to address current projects and plan for emerging needs in the future.
We are also encouraged by the recent announcement between Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) and DOE on an agreement to respond to tank waste issues. This may be a beginning of a new collaborative era between Ecology and DOE, one that we hope will result in considering all viable options for safely, efficiently, and effectively treating Hanford's tank waste.
As design, engineering, and construction of the High-Level Waste Facility is added to the mission scope, it is imperative that your FY24 budget request reflects not only the necessary resources for this critical phase of Hanford cleanup operations, but also the need for continued adequate funding in the Richland Operations and Office of River Protection EM accounts for subsequent fiscal years. We urge the Administration to support an increased budget for the entire EM program to reflect the needs that continue to exist not only at Hanford, but at other sites across the country.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.