Congressional Committee to Examine Claims of Retaliation Against Hanford Whistleblowers
Senate committee will examine allegations of retaliation against several former Hanford whistleblowers who have been fired.
Tuesday, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Contracting and Financial Oversight will examine the safety culture at the Hanford VIT Plant and cleanup project.
They will also examine procedures being used to address whistleblower reports and try to determine if such workers are being protected from retaliation.
Witness who are scheduled to appear include personnel from subcontractors Bechtel, URS and the Department of Energy. Former Hanford workers Walter Tamosaitis, Donna Busche as well as Tom Carpenter of the group Hanford Challenge were also informally invited to testify. But Senator Ron Johnson (R) of Wisconsin blocked formal invitations for the trio, so they cannot give oral testimony.
However, Senator Claire McCaskill (D) of New York who is the chair for the Subcommittee on Contracting and Financial Oversight, will hold a roundtable meeting with Carpenter and the whistleblowers prior to the hearing. McCaskill is expected to introduce written testimony from these three as part of the hearing.
Tamosaitis and Busche were both managers at Hanford who reported what they believed were numerous safety issues at the VIT Plant and cleanup site, as well as design flaws in the proposed waste treatment system. Prior to their dismissals, both said they experienced retaliation from their respective companies.