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DOE Inspector General Fails to Address Hanford Whistleblower Retaliation

October 20, 2014
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(Washington, DC) – After seven months of investigation by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Inspector General, this morning Inspector General Gregory Friedman issued a Special Review Memorandum to the Secretary of Energy regarding the termination of Hanford nuclear site whistleblower Donna Busche, formerly employed as the Environmental and Nuclear Safety Manager for the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). In its five-paragraph report, the DOE Inspector General disclaims any opinion regarding the circumstances of Busche's termination, due to the lack of cooperation of contractors Bechtel National Incorporated and URS. The report can be found here.

In March 2014, the Office of the Secretary of Energy requested this review following Busche's termination in February 2014 after she raised significant safety issues concerning the design and operation of the Department's Hanford, Washington multi-billion dollar WTP. However, the contractors jointly withheld thousands of requested documents needed by the Inspector General to complete its investigation.

Busche expressed her concern with the contractors' cover-up of critical documents: "This is exactly what we expected from URS and Bechtel. These contractors have sent a clear message to any potential whistleblower at the Hanford complex: no one, including DOE, is more powerful than we are."

Busche is represented jointly by GAP and Flynn Merriman & McKennon.

Despite the DOE's inability to address the important issues raised by Busche's unlawful termination, GAP looks forward to the outcome of the Department of Labor's pending investigation of her complaints.

 

Contact: Richard Condit, GAP Senior Counsel
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 142
Email: richardc@whistleblower.org

Contact: Jay Flynn and Kristina McKennon, Flynn Merriman & McKennon
Phone: 509.783.7326
Email: flynn@fmm-law.com; mckennon@fmm-law.com

Contact: Donna Busche
Phone: 509.531.0380

Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

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