Manhattan Project Park and Hanford Land Transfer Fall Short Due to Senate

Due to failure of support from the Senate, the expected final 2014 National Defense Authorization Act does not include two House-passed amendments to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act authored by Congressman Doc Hastings to establish the Manhattan Project National Park and to execute a small transfer of Hanford land no longer needed for cleanup back to the community for economic development.

The expected final text of the defense bill was released late last night. The bill must be passed by the House and Senate before it can be signed into law. A statement from Congressman Doc Hastings, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, follows:

“I’m disappointed, but not deterred. To all the advocates for this Park: you’ve given great energy, enthusiasm and expertise to this effort to date, and I know that will continue until our goal is accomplished, which I am confident it will ultimately be.

“The annual defense bill represented the best chance to actually achieve these community priorities this year and it’s unfortunate that the opportunity has been wasted by the Senate. The Senate’s failure to even pass an annual defense bill complicated the ability to get this accomplished, but it could have still happened except for the unwillingness of the Senate to simply agree to include the new Park in the final bill and complete the land transfer.

“For the Tri-cities community, Hanford's cleanup mission in many areas is being completed and our community is rightfully planning for the future. I'm increasingly concerned that if common ground cannot be found in Washington, DC on the matters on which there is widespread agreement, land will continue to be locked-up under federal control and it will be nearly impossible to bring the community's vision to fruition.

“The House will begin work on its 2015 National Defense Authorization Act in the next few months and I will keep pushing ahead next year to again include these priorities in the House bill and provide the Senate another opportunity to do the right thing and get this done.”