Whistleblower

Anna King / Northwest News Network

A seven month federal investigation into the firing of a top safety manager at Hanford came up inconclusive Monday.

It was supposed to reveal what really happened in the whistleblower’s case, and if her safety concerns had merit. But the Department of Energy’s inspector general said federal contractors at southeast Washington’s nuclear reservation refused to hand over documents.

Michael Werner / EarthFix

Crude oil shipments by rail increased by more than 80 percent, nationally, last year.

Most of it is coming from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That crude is more flammable than other types of oil, and has been shown to catch fire and explode when trains derail.

More than 15 trains of Bakken oil move through some parts of the Northwest each week, en route to refineries and terminals in Washington and Oregon.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway transports the majority of that oil.

The company regularly touts its commitment to safety.

But an EarthFix investigation reveals some troubling patterns in the way BNSF Railway deals with whistleblowers – particularly those who voice concerns about safety.

Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix. EarthFix’s Tony Schick contributed to the reporting for this story.

In Washington, D.C. Tuesday, Hanford whistleblowers Donna Busche and Walt Tamosaitis weren’t allowed to speak before a Senate hearing.

A prominent whistleblower was fired from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's radioactive waste cleanup project on Tuesday.

Nuclear engineer Walt Tamosaitis says he was removed from his position because he brought up safety concerns.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

A federal judge this week dismissed a lawsuit by a high-level whistleblower against a contractor at the Hanford nuclear site. A former manager there had voiced safety concerns about the design of a plant meant to treat millions of gallons of radioactive waste.

A former government scientist says the Department of Interior has painted too positive a picture of Klamath Dam removal. Paul Houser was a scientific integrity officer. And he says he was fired for expressing his dissent. Amelia Templeton reports.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

A Hanford whistleblower lawsuit is underway in federal court in Yakima. A former high-level manager on a nuclear treatment project is asking for a jury trial, but the judge hearing the case said Thursday that’s unlikely. Correspondent Anna King was there.

Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Over the last two years we’ve brought you numerous stories about high-level whistleblowers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's nuclear waste treatment plant. It’s one of the largest environmental cleanup projects on Earth. Now, yet another top expert there is risking his career to speak openly. He tells our correspondent Anna King the plant’s vessels and pipes -- as they’re designed now -- will leak radioactive waste within their planned lifespan.