U.S. Dept. of Energy seeks dismissal of state's Hanford lawsuit

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has asked a federal judge to dismiss the state's lawsuit seeking increased protection for Hanford workers against chemical vapors.

The Tri-City Herald reports (http://goo.gl/c6K6lP ) the Justice Department argues in a motion filed this week that the state is overstepping its authority and has no legal standing to bring the case against the federal government.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement his office strongly opposes the motion and expects to prevail.

Approximately 57 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have received medical evaluations for possible exposure to chemical vapors this spring and summer.

The Department of Justice, arguing for the Energy Department, says if the "very small subset of the state's population working at Hanford may themselves file suit if they believe they have a basis to do so."