I became involved with the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in 1987 when I was asked, by the Oregon Governor’s office, to fill the environmental seat on the just convened Oregon Hanford Advisory Committee. Formation of this Committee was in anticipation of Transuranic shipments leaving Hanford and traveling through Oregon to New Mexico for disposition. It began a journey of discovery about Hanford – undeniably the most radioactively contaminated site on this continent – and fueled a very deep, persistent commitment by me to the goals of public policy and openness in cleanup decisions. I never imagined that this would lead to my participating in the 1993 negotiation of the single-shell tanks at Hanford into the Tri-Party Agreement as a member of the Tank Waste Task-force Committee, or weighing in on the formation of the Hanford Advisory Board through the Keystone Dialogue.
I was a member of the Oregon Board for about 18 years and have been a member of the Site-specific Hanford Advisory Board since its inception. I’ve chaired committees, and been a vice-chair of the Board. Currently I am the National Liaison for the Board, attending national meetings and bring back information on the programmatic efforts of the Department Of Energy with the intent of understanding how these programmatic goals will impact our clean-up mission at Hanford.
I believe we must never go back to a time of closed-door government where only corporate and scientific communities participated in decisions on the use and disposition of radioactive material. Unfortunately, the persistence of long-lived radionuclides will necessitate an informed body of people to “hold the space” for a continued public dialogue that helps our government remain focused on protection of future human generations, the environment and all living things.
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