In Appreciation of Shelley Cimon, An Outstanding Advocate for Hanford Cleanup

We’d like to express our deep appreciation to Shelley Cimon, who for years represented Columbia Riverkeeper on the Hanford Advisory Board (HAB).

In Appreciation of Shelley Cimon, An Outstanding Advocate for Hanford Cleanup

Shelley Cimon
Shelley Cimon

For years, Shelley Cimon represented Columbia Riverkeeper on the Hanford Advisory Board (HAB). The HAB is a broad, region-wide, consensus-based board that evaluates cleanup at Hanford and offers advice to state and federal agencies about how the cleanup can be improved. 

We were incredibly lucky to have Shelley as our representative on the HAB. Shelley has spent decades studying Hanford, its pollution, and the ramifications of Hanford’s contamination for communities downstream, downwind, and near the site. Not only did Shelley represent Columbia Riverkeeper, she served as the HAB”s Vice Chair, holding federal agencies accountable for answering to HAB members and the public about their plans for Hanford. During Shelley’s final meeting representing Columbia Riverkeeper, I read the following statement in appreciation of Shelley’s work. 

We cannot express our gratitude enough for Shelley’s time and commitment, which was never compensated despite its tremendous importance to the HAB.

Thank you, Shelley Cimon.

Dan Serres Statement to Hanford Advisory Board in Appreciation of Shelley Cimon

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

I’m Dan Serres, a former Board member. I’m the Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper, and while I’m not actively involved with the HAB anymore, I remain appreciative of the work that HAB members have continued to do to surface issues and broaden understanding related to Hanford cleanup. I deeply valued the opportunity to serve on the HAB with many of you.

I wanted to say thank you to the outgoing board members who have remained committed to bringing up difficult issues, poring over documents, and educating yourselves and one another about the challenges facing Hanford. It makes a difference to all the communities along the Columbia River to continue building knowledge and facilitating discussion of the contamination at Hanford, which will outlive us all.

On behalf of Columbia Riverkeeper and our thousands of 20,000-plus members and supporters in Washington and Oregon, I want to thank Shelley Cimon. Shelley agreed to take on our seat on the Board several years ago, and since then Shelley has continued to offer incredible knowledge, perspective informed by decades of experience, and a whole lot of (often unacknowledged) work to the HAB and to the larger community who are relying on a successful Hanford cleanup.

Shelley is one of a generation of people who helped to open doors and increase public awareness of how Hanford’s contamination impacts the entire region, and the obligation we have to see the cleanup through. Shelley and others will likely forget more than I will ever know about what happened at Hanford in the production years, the ongoing cleanup effort, and the daylighting of Hanford’s contamination problems. I mean that as a serious compliment for the dedication it took to unveil the reality of Hanford’s contamination issues and the threat to the Columbia River and groundwater.

Personally, I learned a tremendous amount from Shelley and from other departing members of the Board. A lot of the information I learned was technical or specific to Hanford—the histories and locations of contamination events or issues, for instance, that Shelley helped me recognize on a bus tour. But I learned more than that. Shelley helped me see the White Bluffs and Hanford in a different light. She said once, in a video interview, that she felt “cradled in the arms of time” at the White Bluffs. Years later, I began to understand more and more the truth of what Shelley said, the timeless beauty of the Hanford Reach and the potential to restore the land to the people who have used it for time immemorial, and to all future generations who will be drawn to the Columbia by different paths that we likely cannot imagine, much less anticipate. 

To keep the poison from the River, forever. I’ve seen Shelley put a lot of work into this effort. 

Thank you, Shelley Cimon.

About Hanford

Hanford is the most contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere. Cleanup matters.