Hanford layoffs scaled back to just 12

HANFORD, Wash. -- Hundreds of layoffs planned for Hanford may be reduced to just 12. The passing of a federal budget made the outlook a lot brighter.

Mary Growth lives in Richland. Beside her husband, many of her friends work out at the area.

She was worried some of them would lose their jobs when up to 500 layoffs were announced right before Christmas.

Mary says she isn't usually concerned about jobs leaving the area.

"It's like we live in a bubble compared to the rest of the United States, and we've been pretty well protected up to this point," she says.

The predicted layoffs came because the federal government hadn't passed a budget.

Now that that's in place, the Department of Energy knows $2.2 billion will go towards Hanford cleanup this year.

That supports the three contractors that expected to let people go.
Mission Support Alliance, CH2M Hill, and Washington River Protection Solutions combined for more than 160 voluntary layoffs.

But, thanks to that budget approval, the involuntary layoffs amounted to only 12.

It's the answer the vice president of TRIDEC says they've been pulling for for years.

"The difficulty we've had with the budget over the last roughly eight years is that we've seen the budgets go up and down and passed late and continuing resolutions, but we haven't had really a full budget in five years," says Gary Petersen.

Gary says this budget will ensure the jobs through the end of the year, with the possibility of adding jobs next year.

Mary thinks the future is bright for our area.

"I think there will always be jobs here for several years to come," she says.

MSA and CH2M Hill have both said additional layoffs could come as the year unfolds. WRPS confirmed its reductions are finished.

This year's budget for Hanford is $168 million more than last year's.