Washington Radioactive Waste, Initiative 297 (2004)
in Washington State
|Initiatives to the People|
|Initiatives to the Legislature|
|Statutes referred by Legislature|
|Political topics on the ballot|
|Laws • History|
The question asked on the ballot was, "Initiative Measure No. 297 concerns 'mixed' radioactive and nonradioactive hazardous waste. This measure would add new provisions concerning 'mixed' radioactive and nonradioactive hazardous waste, requiring cleanup of contamination before additional waste is added, prioritizing cleanup, providing for public participation and enforcement through citizen lawsuits. Should this measure be enacted into law?"
Estimated fiscal impact
The estimated fiscal impact of I-297 as estimated by the Washington Office of Financial Management was:
- "Initiative 297 would prohibit disposal at contaminated facilities, such as the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, of mixed radioactive hazardous waste from off-site sources until on-site wastes are properly managed and the sites comply with all state and federal environmental standards. The initiative also would increase grant funding to help the public and local governments to evaluate whether these standards are being met, and to review funding priorities. Over the first five years of implementation, additional grant funding of $4.8 million and implementation costs of $3.5 million would be paid, primarily by the federal government through surcharges on current mixed waste fees."
Supporters of I-297 as listed in the official Voter's Guide included:
- Peggy Saari, First Vice President, League of Women Voters - Washington
- Adam Smith, U.S. Representative, 9th Congressional District, Armed Services Committee
- Lisa Brown, Ph.D., State Senator
- Toby Nixon, State Representative
- Peter McGough, former President, Washington State Medical Association
- Gerald Pollet, J.D., Heart of America Northwest, Chair - Protect Washington.
Arguments in favor
Arguments made in the official Voter's Guide by I-297's supporters included:
- Over a million gallons of radioactive waste have leaked from the nuclear waste tanks at the Hanford nuclear facility and "contamination is spreading toward the Columbia River."
- I-297 would "end the dumping of waste directly into the ground in unlined soil trenches and requires cleanup before more waste can be trucked into Hanford."
- "The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is already the most contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere. Millions of gallons of leaking toxic radioactive waste threaten the Columbia River. It’s time for government accountability. It’s time to clean up this dangerous mess before trucking in more radioactive waste. Other states have adopted standards that require cleanup before new dumping. Washington can too. I-297 protects jobs and costs no new taxes."
The name of the committee that supported I-297 was "Yes on 297. Protect Washington." They raised $737,855 for their campaign to urge voters to vote "yes".
The people who signed the official Voter's Guide argument urging a "no" vote on I-297 were:
- Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., Co-chair, science and technology consultant
- Wanda Munn, Co-chair, engineer
- Shirley Hankins, State Representative, 8th Legislative District
- Jerome Delvin, State Senator, 8th Legislative District
- Leroy Korb, M.D., physician
- Sid Morrison, orchardist.
Path to the ballot
The language for I-297 was filed on June 9, 2003 by Gerald M. Pollet. 280,382 signatures were submitted and found sufficient. The Washington State Legislature chose not to act on it, and so it was presented to a statewide vote of the people, and approved.
- I-297 Explanatory Statement
- Arguments for and against I-297
- I-297 fiscal impact statement
- Complete text of I-297
- I-297 election results