"The EPA’s New Environmental Justice Adviser Has a Plutonium Problem"

"More than 40 people inhaled radioactive dust while working for a company whose vice president is now advising Scott Pruitt."

"Exactly one year ago today, the man who founded the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice resigned. In a lengthy letter, Mustafa Ali asked newly sworn-in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to protect the communities most vulnerable to pollution: minorities, low-income populations, and Native Americans. “The upcoming choices you make will have significant impacts on the public health and environment of our country,” Ali wrote. “Those choices can stand as a beacon of hope, and as a powerful role model to the rest of the world on our priorities and values.”

On Wednesday, Pruitt announced the addition of eight new members to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, which provides advice to the EPA administrator on how best to protect those vulnerable communities. One of the members is Michael Tilchin, a white gentleman from Washington, D.C., and the vice president of CH2M Hill, a global engineering company that’s caught up in a major contamination scandal: Dozens of its workers inhaled cancer-causing plutonium—not once, but on multiple occasions.

The events in question occurred at the Hanford Site, a decommissioned nuclear weapons production facility in Washington state. CH2M Hill holds contracts with the Department of Energy to clean up the highly contaminated, radioactive site. Tilchin, according to a two-year-old resume, in 2013 began serving on the board of directors for the CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company, a subsidiary in charge of “environmental cleanup of the Central Plateau at the Hanford Site.” (It’s not clear whether he still serves on this board, nor if he was involved with decision-making at Hanford. He declined The New Republic’s request for comment, and CH2M Hill did not reply to a request for comment.)"

Emily Atkin reports for the New Republic March 8, 2018.

Source: New Republic, 03/09/2018