AG Ferguson: Biden admin ‘cruel’ for fighting Hanford worker law

Hanford Workers
Workers are pictured in the 105-K West Reactor fuel storage basin, working to remove contaminated filter media used to keep the basin water clean. This is a step toward dewatering and removing the last water-filled fuel storage basin along the Columbia River. (Courtesy: Hanford Site)

SEATTLE — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sounded off Tuesday, saying the Biden administration sought to challenge Washington’s law aiding workers compensation access for sick Hanford workers:

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 “The Trump administration attempted to gut  Washington’s protections for Hanford workers that get sick on the job — and my legal team beat them twice. We defeated the Trump administration in a federal court in Yakima, and again at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Now the Biden administration is continuing Donald Trump’s cruel effort to eliminate these critical protections for the hardworking men and women at Hanford. President Biden’s Department of Justice recently filed an appeal to the United States Supreme Court — just days after Labor Day, no less.”

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The AG vowed to “continue to fight” for the workers.

“The Biden administration should withdraw their appeal immediately,” Ferguson said in a press release.

At issue is House Bill 1723, passes a few years back. The bill was designed to make it easier to get workers’ compensation benefits when they develop certain illnesses, presuming the workers became ill due to exposure to chemicals at the site.

Former Representative Larry Haley (R-Tri-Cities) sponsored the bill, which was passed and celebrated locally. Before the law, sick workers had to prove their work at the site caused their illnesses. Some workers passed away before they received the benefits, Ferguson’s office said.