Tri-City Leaders Filing Yucca Mountain Lawsuit

Tri-City Leaders Filing Yucca Mountain Lawsuit »Play Video
RICHLAND - Three Tri-City businessmen are taking on the Obama administration. The president gave up on plans to send Hanford waste to Nevada's Yucca Mountain. And these local leaders think you're at risk because of it.

Yucca Mountain is about 100 miles outside of Las Vegas. Yucca is the site the feds have spent billions on to store our nuclear waste and bury it underground. That would include some of the nastiest stuff from Hanford, including tank waste from the vitrification plant. But now that's off the table.

"This is foolishness in my mind. The community should be up in arms," said Bill Lampson.

Three names most longtime Tri-Citians know, Bill Lampson, Bob Ferguson, Gary Peterson; three successful businessmen personally bankrolling a lawsuit to take on the commander in chief. They told Action News, it's no publicity stunt, it's the only option.

They already sent a letter to the White House and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who visited the Hanford site last summer. They also hired a Washington, D.C., law firm to file a lawsuit next week.

They argue that the Obama administration violated the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act by abandoning Yucca. They worry the waste will stay here indefinitely.

"The waste has been there for 70 years. Many tanks are suspected of leaking and contaminants are moving towards Columbia River. How many more years can it be here without serious impact?" said Ferguson.

It's a question they are taking to the very top. And they're not alone, last week a group in South Carolina filed a similar suit. And it's expected with 121 sites in 39 other states in the same situation, this could be only be the beginning.

Action News reached out to both Washington Senators Cantwell and Murray and Congressman Doc Hastings to get their take on this lawsuit.

Hastings says he supports the suit and believes abandoning Yucca is a political maneuver to help Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, at our expense.

In October, Hastings sent a letter to Obama about Yucca and never got a response.

Sen. Murray calls the president's decision about Yucca, "irresponsible."