Many entities have a role in DOE's mission of environmental restoration, waste management, and protection of the Columbia River at the Hanford Site. Stakeholders include federal, state, and local regulatory agencies; environmental groups; regional communities and governments; and the public. Indian tribes and Nations also have a special and unique involvement with the Hanford Site and maintain a government-to-government relationship with DOE.
Several federal, state, and local regulatory agencies are responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with applicable environmental regulations at the site. The Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council is another stakeholder. This council comprises federal trustees for Hanford natural resources, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Local Indian tribes also are members of the council as as are the Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Department of Energy. It facilitates coordination and cooperation of trustees in mitigating impacts to natural resources that result from either hazardous substances releases within the site or remediation of those releases.
The Hanford Site is located on land ceded to the United States government by the Yakama Nation and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in the Treaties of 1855. These tribes, as well as the Nez Perce Tribe, have treaty fishing rights on portions of the Columbia River.
The Wanapum People are not a federally recognized tribe, but have historic ties to the Hanford Site as do the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, whose members are descendants of people who used the area now known as the Hanford Site.
The Hanford Site's environment supports a number of Native American foods and medicines and contains sacred places important to tribal cultures. The tribes hope to safely use these resources in the future and want to assure themselves that the Hanford environment is clean and healthy.
American Indian Tribal governments have a special and unique legal and political relationship with the government of the United States, defined by history, treaties, statutes, court decisions, and the U.S. Constitution. In recognition of this relationship, DOE and each tribe interact and consult directly.
Tribal government representatives from the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the Nez Perce Tribe participate in DOE-supported groups such as the State and Tribal Government Working Group, the Hanford Natural Resources Trustee Council, the Hanford Site Groundwater/Vadose Zone Integration Project, the Hanford Cultural Resources Program. They also review and comment on draft documents. Both the Wanapum People and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation also are provided an opportunity to comment on documents and participate in cultural resource
The DOE American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Government Policy guides DOE's interactions with tribes for Hanford plans and activities.
Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Yakama Nation, Nez Perce Tribe, and Wanapum People were actively involved in the cultural resources program during 2001. Each tribe was involved in deciding DOE's cultural resource program work scope, budget, and schedule. Monthly meetings on cultural resource issues provided a venue for the exchange of information between DOE, tribal staff members, and site contractors about projects and work on the Hanford Site.
During 2001, one member of the Wanapum People assisted with cultural resource surveys, site form preparation, records management, and equipment use. Interviews were conducted with Wanapum elders about sites that have traditional significance on the Hanford Site.
Citizens of the state of Washington and neighboring states may influence Hanford Site cleanup decisions through public participation activities.
The public is provided opportunities to contribute their input and influence decisions through many forums, including Hanford Advisory Board meetings, Tri-Party Agreement activities, National Environmental Policy Act public meetings covering various environmental impact statements, and other involvement programs.
The Tri-Party Agreement provides a means for Hanford to become compliant with environmental regulatory requirements.
The Hanford Site Tri-Party Agreement Public Involvement Community Relations Plan outlines how public information and involvement activities are conducted for Tri-Party Agreement decisions. The Washington State Department of Ecology, DOE, and EPA developed and negotiated the plan with input from the public. The plan was approved in 1990.
The plan is updated as needed. The most recent revision occurred in 2002. The plan can be found on the Internet at www.hanford.gov/crp/toc.htm.
A mailing list of about 3,300 individuals who have indicated an interest in participating in Hanford Site decisions is maintained. The mailing list also is used to send topic-specific information to those people who have requested it. Information is provided on upcoming decisions to elected officials, community leaders, special interest groups, and the media.
To inform the public of upcoming opportunities for public participation, the Hanford Update, a synopsis of all ongoing and upcoming Tri-Party Agreement public involvement activities, is published bimonthly. In addition, the Hanford Happenings calendar highlights Tri-Party Agreement meetings and comment periods. It is distributed monthly to the entire mailing list.
To allow Hanford stakeholders and others to access up-to-date information, documents from the Tri-Party Agreement's Administrative Record and Public Information Repository are available on the World Wide Web at http://www2.hanford.gov/arpir.
The public can obtain information about cleanup activities via a toll-free telephone line (800-321-2008). Members of the public can request information about any public participation activity and receive a response by calling the Office of Intergovernmental, Public, and Institutional Affairs (DOE Richland Operations Office) at (509) 376-7501.
Also, a calendar of public involvement
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Document Number: PNNL-13910-SUM
Document Date: September 2002
Posted: October 2002