Did you know that there are not one, but two Hanford-focused advisory boards? The first is the Hanford Advisory Board (the HAB), featured in another blog post here. The second advisory board working on Hanford cleanup issues is the Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board (OHCB).
The OHCB, formerly the Oregon Hanford Waste Board, was established by the Oregon State legislature in 1987. Like the HAB, the OHCB provides input to the Department of Energy and its regulators (the Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology) on a variety of cleanup topics. It additionally provides policy recommendations to the Oregon legislature and the office of the governor.
The membership of the OHCB differs from that of the HAB in its inclusion of six Oregon state legislators, representatives from the Oregon Governor’s Office, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and two Oregon state agencies. The OHCB also has 10 citizen members representing different geographical areas of Oregon. The OHCB meets three times a year, often at locations along the Columbia River to emphasize a connection between the river and Hanford cleanup.
I got to join the OHCB for a meeting in Cascade Locks, Oregon in September of 2014. I found the OHCB meeting to be slower-paced and more intelligible to a Hanford newbie than most of HAB meetings I’ve been to. The smaller group made for easier conversation between board members and agency representatives. Like at HAB meetings, time was built in for public comment so I was able to ask questions of board members, Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) staff, and agency representatives. The meeting I attended also featured a particularly helpful primer on radiation by Dirk Dunning of ODOE.
You can peruse past OHCB advice and agendas here. The next OHCB meeting is on June 1st & 2nd in Boardman, Oregon, near Hermiston and not far from the Tri-Cities. The OHCB has a goal of increasing public awareness and involvement in Hanford cleanup by Oregon stakeholders and encourages the public to attend and participate. If you have questions about the OHCB or are interested in attending a future meeting, you can contact Ken Niles of ODOE.
by: Emily Bays