view of water at Hanford

About the Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council

Who can be a natural resource Trustee?

Natural resource Trustees are government officials who act on behalf of the public when there is injury to, destruction of, loss of, or threat to natural resources (for which they have management responsibility) as a result of the release of a contaminant. Federal, State, and Tribal entities are authorized to act as Trustees pursuant to Section 301(c) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Who are the Hanford Trustees?

The Trustees for the Hanford Site include:

  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on behalf of the United States Federal Government;
  • U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
  • State of Washington through the Washington Department of Ecology in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife;
  • State of Oregon through the Oregon Department of Energy;
  • Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (Yakama Nation);
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR); and
  • Nez Perce Tribe.

What is the Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council?

The Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council (HNRTC) is a collaborative working group chartered to address natural resources affected by Hanford Site releases of contaminants. The Council comprises DOE, DOI, NOAA, the State of Oregon, the State of Washington, the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the CTUIR. In 1996, these Trustees signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) “intended to help coordinate decisions and actions made by the trustees pursuant to their legal authority to address natural resources impacted by Hanford Site releases of contaminants.” The MOA was subsequently updated in 2016 to better reflect the ongoing NRDA process being conducted by the HNRTC.

The primary party responsible for discharges and releases of contaminants at this site is the U.S. Federal government. As noted above, the federal government is also a Trustee at this site. The Trustees have agreed to follow a cooperative assessment process.

How does the HNRTC operate?

The Council maintains an administrative record to document the NRDA process. The HNRTC meets regularly, on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, to manage and plan the NRDA. Documents relied upon by the HNRTC in making final, consensus-based decisions about damage assessment and restoration actions can be found in the Administrative Record. Each year a Chair is elected to oversee the process.

Other resources

Please Note: The content provided herein only summarizes the process, laws, and regulations as they pertain to the Hanford NRDA. Please refer to the law and regulations pertaining to NRDA for full description of the process and its definitions and requirements.

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