Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Yakima Herald-Republic Not So Happy With the Feds' Efforts at Hanford

The editorial board of the Yakima Herald-Republic yesterday unloaded on the US Department of Energy for cost escalations and delays associated with the clean up at the Hanford Site. Hard not to feel some sympathy for the editors' point of view. On the other hand, no one seems to know how to do a clean up of this magnitude and complexity. And all of the elaborate "decision-making process" employed to date does not seem to help when basic science and engineering questions remain unanswered. Here's a quote from the editorial showing what has the Herald-Republic upset:
As reported earlier this month in both this newspaper and the Tri-City Herald, the estimated cost has skyrocketed again -- this time from $26 billion to $44 billion for closing Hanford's underground tanks and treating their radioactive and hazardous chemical waste. There's more. * That amount does not include estimated contingency costs of as much as $18 billion -- bringing the potential cost to $62 billion -- if the project has more delays or other difficulties. And given the track record for almost two decades now, the chances of delay are near-certain unless there's a new culture of action we're not seeing so far. The $44 billion cost would cover emptying and closing the 177 underground tanks at the Hanford nuclear reservation and treating the 53 million gallons of waste they hold. The new numbers project that treatment of the waste and closure of the tanks would be completed in 2042, rather than 2028 as is required by the 1989 Tri-Party Agreement signed by the state and federal governments to establish (cue the cynical cackle) cleanup deadlines.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I wonder if Billy Clapp saw this coming?

Billy Clapp was an Ephrata lawyer and, along with Rufus Woods, one of the driving forces behind the making of the Grand Coulee Dam. His hopes for industrial development in his region were disappointed when the Feds established the BPA to export the power out of the immediate area at postage-stamp rates, i.e., the power from the dam cost the same in Seattle as it did in Ephrata.

In today's Columbia Basin Herald, David Cole reports this from a meeting of the Ephrata City Council with Grant County Public Utility District representatives:

"The PUD is working on three substation projects in 2007, in the north and west sections of Quincy for Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and in Moses Lake for REC Silicon."

Billy Clapp Lake

Friday, June 22, 2007

Oregon Oasis Bill Passed in State House: Update -- Governor Threatens Veto

The Oregonian reports that
"Governor Ted Kulongoski threatened Friday to veto a bill that would allow eastern Oregon to draw more water from the Columbia River. "Kulongoski's note to Senate President Peter Courtney -- one of only a few veto threats issued session -- called House Bill 3525 'a gross violation' of an obligation to Oregon's neighboring states to not reduce river flows. "Withdrawing the water, he said, could 'trigger lawsuits under the federal endangered species act' and overturn 'over 15 years of protection of listed salmon and steelhead stocks' in the river." Politics Updates
"The Oregon House Thursday night approved a high priority measure for rural eastern Oregon that would allow the diversion of an additional 500,000 acre feet of water from the Columbia River during the summer irrigation season. Known as the Oregon Oasis Project, the measure, House Bill 3525, would bypass a rule adopted by the state in the 1990s that limits new diversions of Columbia water between April and September to ensure adequate water levels for endangered salmon and other fish."