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Crapo, Nuclear Cleanup Caucus Members Seek To â??Accelerate Cleanup

Briefings to address challenges, funding; INEEL featured in April briefing

Washington, DC â?? An annual series of Congressional briefings on nuclear waste cleanup began today in Washington D.C., part of an effort by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and the Senate Nuclear Waste Cleanup Caucus to accelerate decontamination efforts. Crapo, who is Co-Chairman of the Caucus, invited his Senate colleagues and staff to attend a series of briefings designed to highlight the importance of nuclear waste cleanup at contaminated sites, including the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). In a letter sent to members of the Senate, which was also signed by House Nuclear Cleanup Caucus Chair Doc Hastings (R-Washington) and Senate Caucus Co-Chair Patty Murray (D-Washington), urged Members of Congress to face â??one of the most serious environmental problems confronting [the] nationâ?? by attending the briefings. â??Major efforts are underway in the Department of Energyâ??s Environmental Management program to accelerate by decades the cleanup of former nuclear weapons sites across the country,â?? Crapo and the Caucus leadership wrote. â??The nuclear cleanup effort requires our active support and funding if we are to protect and restore our environment in dozens of communities across the United States.â??Crapo and Murray created the Senate Nuclear Waste Cleanup Caucus in 2001 in a bipartisan effort to increase funding for nuclear cleanup. The Nuclear Cleanup Caucus briefings are designed to provide an overview of the progress that has been made at the cleanup sites, and the plans that exist for accelerating cleanup. The briefings will be held weekly until May 20th. â??Members of Congress need to realize that nuclear waste and environmental contamination at places like the INEEL are not only local issues but national problems that require a national focus,â?? Crapo added. â??It is my hope that by bringing a bipartisan group of lawmakers together to focus on this problem we can help DOE get the money it needs to meet its commitments to our constituents.â??The 2004 briefing schedule, including dates and cleanup sites to be featured, is as follows: February 26 DOE Environmental Management Briefingâ??Assistant Secretary Jessie RobersonMarch 4 Richland, WashingtonMarch 11 Savannah River, South CarolinaMarch 18 Small Sites BriefingMarch 25 Office of River Protection, WashingtonApril 1 Idaho National Engineering and Environmental LaboratoryApril 22 Carlsbad/WIPP, New MexicoApril 29 Rocky Flats, ColoradoMay 6 Oak Ridge, TennesseeMay 13 Ohio Field Office Sites: Ashtabula, Columbus, Fernald, Mound/Miamisburg, West ValleyMay 20 Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office Locations will be determined closer to the briefing date of each event; all will be held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and will feature leadership and personnel for the site being discussed that week.# # #