The Honorable Steven Chu
Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
Dear Secretary Chu:
We are writing in strong support of the recent request by the Tri-Cities Development Council (TRIDEC) for the transfer of 1,341 acres of land (Tract 1) from the Hanford Site to the surrounding community.
As you know, TRIDEC is identified as the recognized Department of Energy (DOE) Community Reuse Organization under 10 CFR 770, and is putting forth this application with the City of Richland, the Port of Benton and Benton County. We understand this application comports with the Hanford Comprehensive Land-Use Plan and is located within the area set aside for industrial use.
We feel that the transfer of Tract 1 is beneficial to both DOE and the surrounding community in several important ways.
First, economically, this land transfer will provide a dedicated area for new businesses and industries to establish operations in the Tri-Cities. Tract 1's proximity to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Tri-Cities Research District, Washington State University's Bioproducts, Sciences, and Engineering Laboratory, and the many science and technology companies in the surrounding area would make it a particularly attractive site for high tech firms. We are confident that access to Tract 1 would play a vital role in the region's future economic growth and contribute to its further development as a hub for research and industry into areas like clean energy and the biosciences which are priorities for DOE and benefit our nation as a whole.
Second, we also believe that the transfer of Tract 1 to the community would be of great symbolic importance, since it would signify the hard-won progress on Hanford cleanup completed to date and our shared commitment to helping the region transition to a thriving, post-cleanup economy. The existing research facilities, science and technology assets, and intellectual capacity in the Tri-Cities provide a core infrastructure on which the industries of the future can be built, and DOE's transfer of land will send a powerful message to the community and the nation with respect to its support of this long-term vision.
We believe that DOE should complete this transfer request in a timely manner in order for TRIDEC and its partners to attract new businesses without the uncertainty associated with removing the land from the federal government's rolls. The timely transfer of Tract 1 will ensure that the community will be able to shore up and expand the large and unique pool of skilled, scientific talent in this area. With the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act last December, and your subsequent creation of the Asset Revitalization Initiative lead by the Office of Legacy Management, we can think of no better early action signifying the effectiveness of the Initiative than a quick, positive response by the Department to this land transfer request.
We thank you for your consideration of TRIDEC's proposal and for your continued work at the Hanford Site.
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)