New Bill Would Allow Washington To Plan For Nuclear Evacuation

Jan 22, 2018

Glen Anderson was one of two people to testify against a bill that would allow Washington emergency management authorities to include a nuclear attack as part of their planning.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR/TVW

A western Washington legislator is working to change a state law that forbids officials from planning an evacuation or relocation of people after a nuclear attack.

A bill by Tacoma Republican Representative Dick Muri would remove the prohibition.  A provision enacted in 1984, during the Cold War, said that state emergency management officials could not include evacuation as part of their nuclear attack plans.

Now, with nuclear tensions heightened again, Muri says it makes sense for the state to prepare itself. He spoke at a House committee hearing today (Monday).

“To not be able to plan like this really inhibits our ability to help survive the worst-case scenario in case anything ever did happen and I think our planners should have the freedom to do whatever they can that would help mitigate any type of potential attack,” Muri said.

It’s a silly idea, countered Glen Anderson, who argued it’s a waste of time to use state resources for this type of planning.

“People who are knowledgeable and sensible have long since discredited the notion that we can evaluate or relocate in order to survive nuclear war," Anderson said. "House Bill 2214 deceives people by creating the illusion that nuclear war is survivable. And it also would distract and distort the resources necessary for other kinds of emergency planning.”

Another critic argued this could be considered by other nations as a provocation and proof the U.S. is planning for nuclear war.