Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA - Senior U.S. District Judge Alan McDonald today ruled on summary judgment in United States. v. Manning that Initiative 297, the Cleanup Priority Act, is unconstitutional in its entirety.

The court ruled that federal law preempts I-297 because the initiative “impermissibly regulates” radioactive material subject to the federal Atomic Energy Act. The court also ruled that the initiative's moratorium on mixed waste shipments to facilities such as Hanford violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court's ruling does not otherwise impact any state regulatory authority at Hanford which existed prior to passage of I-297.

“The Attorney General’s Office thanks the court for issuing a timely and thorough opinion, even though the court disagreed with the state's interpretations of how the initiative operates and what effects it might have,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “We are still in the process of digesting today's 62-page decision. However, we are mindful that Initiative 297 was enacted by Washington's voters by the widest margin of any initiative in state history and we will be carefully considering every option available to the State, including the option of appealing today's decision. ”

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Andy Fitz, Assistant Attorney General, (360) 586-6770

Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725