The Environmental Protection Agency has not made a permanent plan for management of its office at the Energy Department’s Hanford Site in Washington state. Instead, the EPA on Monday assigned two staffers at its Hanford Project Office to fill in as acting manager over the next eight months.
The move came after Dennis Faulk, who had been an outspoken leader of the office for more than eight years, took early retirement from the federal government at the end of August.
The Environmental Protection Agency is a Hanford regulator and one of the organizations that sets milestones for cleanup of the sprawling former plutonium production site under the Tri-Party Agreement. The Hanford office also oversees DOE’s Idaho nuclear cleanup project.
For the upcoming 120 days, Laura Buelow, an environmental scientist with the EPA Hanford office, will serve as acting manager. Then Dave Einan, an environmental engineer with the office, will then take over for the same period of time.
Alex Smith, the Nuclear Waste Program manager for the Washington state Department of Ecology, sent Faulk a letter calling him “balanced and knowledgeable, a go-to for Hanford expertise and insight.” She said his “wise counsel” and “straightforward, always honest answers to even the most difficult questions” would be missed.