Advisory Boards and Citizen Voices: The Hanford Advisory Board

If you follow Hanford news, you’re likely to come across mentions of the Hanford Advisory Board (HAB) and their views on particular issues. The HAB is a 32-seat board that provides “informed advice and recommendations to the Tri-Party agencies on selected major policy issues concerning Hanford.”

HAB seats include representatives for a variety of groups, including

·      Tribes,
·      Hanford workforce
·      General public
·      Hanford unions
·      Universities
·      Environmental interests
·      Public health groups
·      State of Oregon
·      Representatives of local business interests

You can get more information about HAB membership here.

With so many different perspectives represented by HAB members, it is not a simple task to reach consensus when writing advice for the Tri-Party agencies. Discussions can be long and arduous. The survivor-themed decoration on the cake at the HAB’s anniversary party read “Outalk, Outsit, Outlast,” in a humorous nod to the tenacity required to make it through the long meetings and advice-writing.

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This description of HAB meetings may not entice you, but they are often full of interesting discussion by Hanford experts and newcomers from a variety of backgrounds on important issues at the site.

HAB committees include:
·      Public Involvement
·      Tank Waste
·      Health, Safety, and Environmental Protection
·      River & Plateau
·      Executive Issues.

Committee members write advice on relevant issues and bring the advice to full board meetings for approval, where amendments can be made until consensus is reached and the advice is sent to the appropriate agencies.

The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Washington State participate extensively in HAB activities and are present at each meeting. The presence of Hanford decision makers makes the HAB a vital tool for representing the public voice in Hanford cleanup decisions.

Since its charter in 1994, the HAB has given sustained attention to the many complex issues of nuclear waste cleanup and been a staunch advocate for the public, promoting accountability and transparency in cleanup decisions.

At HAB meetings you will also hear:
·      The latest updates from agency representatives
·      Hanford workers speak about their experiences
·      Tribal perspectives on cleanup

15765789066_86c651021f_kEvery Hanford Advisory Board meeting is open to the public, and time is allotted for public comment. If you are in the Tri-City area, this is a great opportunity to learn about and make a comment on cleanup issues that are important to you. The next HAB meeting is April 8-9 in Richland, and part of the meeting will be held in the evening to promote public attendance. Click here for more information about that meeting, including an agenda and call-in info for long-distance participants.

For more information about the Hanford Advisory Board, check out the official website.

by: Emily Bays

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