Our Voice: Thumbs up to state and DOE for continued talks over Hanford cleanup

Keep talking

To Washington state and the Department of Energy for agreeing to extend dispute resolution efforts over the Hanford court-enforced consent decree until Sept. 5.

Neither party will seek court involvement in the consent decree before then. State and federal officials familiar with the challenges at Hanford need to develop a plan for going forward.

Environmental policy shouldn't be left to a federal judge whose expertise is the law, not nuclear wastes.

The consent decree sets deadlines for the emptying of certain leak-prone waste tanks and the building and start up of the $12.3 billion vitrification plant to treat the waste.

DOE has said it is at risk of missing most of the remaining deadlines in the consent decree.

"It's absolutely essential we forge a viable plan that ensures the federal government fulfills its legal obligations to clean up Hanford," said Gov. Jay Inslee.

The best way to do that is for the state and DOE to keep talking.

Live-saving idea

Thumbs up to Dr. Lewis Zirkle and his SIGN family who are saving lives and livelihoods in developing countries around the world.

The orthopedic nail Zirkle created to repair broken legs is an innovative idea and has been recognized as such by the Tri-Cities Research District with the inaugural Innovative Partner of the Year award.

The honor is well deserved.

The device greatly reduces hospitalization and the chances of complications arising from surgery.

It is getting people back on their feet. Last year, the product was distributed in 52 countries, and since its inception, about 135,000 bone fractures have been treated with this method.

In a world where you don't eat if you don't work, a broken bone quickly becomes a family tragedy.

SIGN is a good community partner and a valuable worldwide contributor.

Lots of good ideas are coming from the Tri-Cities. It's a good SIGN.

Mixed messages

Thumbs down to the Obama administration for failing to give a straight answer on the marijuana issue.

Despite the New York Times editorial calling for the legalization of marijuana across the country, the president is not ready to take that step.


But he can at least get his agencies on the same page when it comes to the federal reaction to state laws. Even our two senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell -- both Democrats -- want some solid answers.

We can't imagine that recreational pot use in two of the 50 states in this country rises to the top of any federal official's agenda.

But it would be nice if the administration could at least keep some consistency to its message.