Oak Ridge Reservation Environmental Management
Site Specific Advisory Board

Approved November 4, 1998, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Reservation Environmental Management Site Specific Advisory Board (ORREMSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly board meeting on Wednesday, November 4, 1998, at the Ramada Inn Ballroom, Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Members Present

Bill Pardue, Chair
Joe Alexander
Jack Bowden
Donna Campbell
Fred Creswick
Randy Gordon
Peter Hillis
Steve Kopp
Demetra Nelson
Ken Parks
Bob Peelle
Pat Rush
Lorene Sigal
Rikki Traylor
Charles Washington

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Rod Nelson, Deputy Designated Federal Official
Marianne Heiskell, DOE-ORO
John Owsley, TDEC
Carolyn Jones, EPA Region 4, standing in for Camilla Warren

Others Present

Joe Nemec, President and General Manager, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Judith Bradbury, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Christy Branch, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Chuck Jenkins, SSAB Support Office
Sheree Black, SSAB Support Office
Pete Osborne, SSAB Support Office

Ten members of the public were recorded to have attended the meeting.


Mr. Joe Nemec, President and General Manager of Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC, gave a management and integration (M&I) "6-month status report" and distributed a handout on the subject to meeting attendees (Attachment 1). Legacy waste is one the biggest problems according to Mr. Nemec because millions of dollars are essentially lost in the "care and feeding" of that waste.

Public Comment

Lorene Sigal asked about saving money by using subcontracts: Can you make sure the savings will stay here? Mr. Nemec agreed that is a concern. There is a natural tendency once a job is completed to move on to something else, so the challenge is to convince Congress that once a job's complete we still need money to do other things.

Mr. Charles Washington asked why minority underutilizations haven't been filled. Mr. Nemec replied that the numbers were worse 2 months ago and have actually improved. As openings come available, minority and female candidates will be given first choice for those jobs. Right now there are no openings, so they cannot be filled. Mr. Washington asked if any of the companies generating new non-DOE payroll were minority owned. Mr. Nemec didn't know. Mr. Washington asked if employees know that their jobs will be subcontracted in the next 2 years. Mr. Nemec replied that Bechtel Jacobs continually informs employees about transitions to subcontracts, and employees are well aware of the reduction goals. Mr. Washington asked if Bechtel Jacobs or any of its subcontractors are subject to "3161" (which gives enhanced benefits for downsizing of the DOE workforce). Mr.Nemec explained that Bechtel Jacobs employees are entitled to severance pay if they loose their jobs or if they're transitioned to subcontractors and are subsequently cut. This severance includes their service with Lockheed Martin, Union Carbide, Bechtel Jacobs, and the subcontractor. If they choose to take a non-DOE position with a subcontractor, it's considered a voluntary reduction in force, and they would not get severance pay. "Who is enforcement authority for workforce analysis relative to Office of Federal Contract Compliance?" Mr. Washington asked. Mr. Rod Nelson volunteered that the DOE Contracts Procurement Division is responsible. Mr. Washington asked for a list of the subcontract companies and the number of their employees who are subject to the "50/50" rule. Mr. Nemec offered to supply any information he had on the subject.

Ms. Pat Rush asked if any part of Mr. Nemec's job description is to address areas of the reservation that are not included in the watersheds. Mr. Nemec replied that these areas are not within his scope.

Mr. Bob Peelle asked if when he reads about people losing jobs in the newspaper, are they really losing jobs or just being moved to subcontracts? Mr. Nemec replied that they are, indeed, losing jobs. "Does the same amount of work get done without the people getting cut?" Mr. Peelle asked. Mr. Nemec replied that the amount of work being done isn't exactly the same. He explained that Bechtel Jacobs is doing work right now that doesn't necessarily have to be done. As legacy waste work is completed, inspections and certain other things will no longer be necessary. Bechtel Jacobs is looking at increasing efficiency as well. Mr. Peelle asked about the rebaselining effort. Mr. Nemec explained that Bechtel Jacobs needed to come up with a cost estimate, a schedule, and technical assumptions before going forward with work within its scope to make practical sequencing decisions. That baseline will change, but it had to be created to figure out where to go.

In reference to the $500,000 in charitable contributions Mr. Nemec said Bechtel Jacobs had made so far, Mr. Peter Hillis drew Mr. Nemec's attention to the fact that half the Board doesn't live in Oak Ridge, and other counties (e.g., Roane, Meigs, and Loudon) can use help, too. Mr. Nemec explained that when he referred to Oak Ridge, he was speaking of the surrounding five-county area as well.

Mr. Daniel Axelrod asked Mr. Nemec to elaborate on what work will be performed as part of the Surveillance and Maintenance budget for FY 1999. Mr. Nemec replied that there were a wide variety of facilities awaiting remediation that need regular inspections, repairs, upkeep, and other maintenance. The budget includes all facilities at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) and excess facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant. The Alpha 4 facility at Y-12 requires about $1.2M per year.

Mr. Al Brooks asked for a list of costs for finished and in-progress cleanup projects. Mr. Nemec agreed to provide all cost information available.

Mr. Vic Tennery said he'd been to a meeting of the Friends of ORNL recently, at which Richard Gunung gave a presentation of the future of ORNL. Several areas were termed "sacrifice areas," or areas that would never be decontaminated. Mr. Tennery asked Mr. Nemec to comment. Mr. Nemec was not familiar with the term "sacrifice area," but acknowledged that some of the pits and trenches at ORNL may not be dug up. Mr. Pardue observed that ORREMSSAB has never used the term. Mr. Rod Nelson said that DOE has never used the term either.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. Rod Nelson, SSAB Deputy Designated Federal Official, said the budget hasn't been nailed down yet. He's anticipating getting a fax from headquarters tomorrow with preliminary numbers; a final number will be coming down next week. Secretary of Energy Richardson will not be attending the upcoming environmental conference.

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting was set for Wednesday, December 2, 1998.

Members voted on the Barriers to DOE/EM Progress. Results (Attachment 2) will be tallied and forwarded to the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) Citizens Advisory Board.

Mr. Bill Pardue asked Ms. Carolyn Jones to take back to EPA that the Board is still waiting for information from the agency: the chart it uses for its CERCLA decision process, Toxic Release Inventory Geographic Information Survey data, and an update on status of EPA grant applications.

Mr. Steve Kopp informed the Board that members of the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET) had voted to change CROET bylaws to remove the Save Our Cumberland Mountains seat from the board. He also reported that Kingsley Coach will be coming to the ETTP site, and CROET is to be congratulated for pulling them in.

Discussion of LandTech Recommendation

Ms. Donna Campbell, leader of the ad hoc committee to evaluate LandTech, introduced a recommendation that ORREMSSAB and DOE accept an offer from DOE EM-75 to establish, perform, and evaluate a beta test of LandTech Tennessee on an Oak Ridge Reservation project.

Ms. Lorene Sigal said that while she appreciated the efforts of the ad hoc committee, she was disturbed that ORREMSSAB would consider asking DOE to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a system that had been turned down by DOE and contractors at the Savannah River Site (SRS) and Argonne National Laboratory. Ms. Sigal concerns were that (1) the proposal was vague and poorly justified, (2) use of the system would require extensive training of stakeholders, and (3) it would probably not provide local stakeholders with anything of value that was not already available.

In regard to item 1, Ms. Sigal stated that the proposal was so vague that in her opinion it could hardly be called a proposal at all. She said that officials at SRS and Argonne had determined programmatically and technically that LandTech was not needed and had no future at their sites. INEEL did give LandTech a try, although she could not find any INEEL-specific information on their Web pages. Ms. Sigal suggested that LandTech might have some value at Department of Defense sites because there are few stakeholder resources available. She felt the entire Board needed to understand LandTech better as well as what is available locally.

In regard to item 2, she said she had gone to the Oak Ridge Public Library to research LandTech and had a very difficult time. She would still be there now, she said, if she hadn't had assistance from Al Brooks and Norman Mulvenon.

On item 3, she remarked that there was nothing on LandTech she couldn't have gotten elsewhere, independent of LandTech, and she felt few stakeholders would use the system because of the extensive training required. Further, because there is little public participation outside the SSAB, the Local Oversight Committee, and a few other groups, she's not sure how the Board could expect stakeholders to line up at the library to use LandTech.

Ms. Sigal asked that a full Board meeting be set to discuss the LandTech recommendation and that all Board members use the LandTech system before voting on it.

Mr. Al Brooks, who claims over 35 years experience with information systems, offered written comments on the system (Attachment 3).

Ms. Rikki Traylor expressed concern that stakeholders were not aware of what information is "out there" on the Web. Mr. Steve Kopp said he had come to the meeting prepared to support LandTech, but now had reservations and requested more information on it. He would have preferred having someone from LandTech at the meeting to answer questions. Mr. Gordon expressed reservations about supporting the recommendation and thought the Board was dangerously overstepping its bounds by trying to evaluate such systems and consider spending money in this way.

Mr. Peelle expressed doubts about the system and mentioned that he had not seen the offer from EM-75. Funding for the project could not be assured, and therefore the future of the entire project was suspect. Money already slated for the beta test isn't "free money;" it isn't out of the local EM budget, but it should still be used very carefully since it is taxpayer money. He questioned the evaluation process that would come at the end of the test and said that putting a dollar value on the usefulness of the system is almost impossible. He mentioned that he could not think of a project that would be ideal for use in the beta test and that choosing a project would be important. The project would also require a huge expense of energy by the Board, and he wasn't sure that level of effort was possible. He felt that the proponents of the systems envisioned styling the whole interaction with the public through LandTech, and he wasn't sure he wanted to change the public input process currently in place.

Ms. Heiskell stated that DOE technical project and public participation organizations turned the proposal down twice. After looking at it very closely, DOE-ORO determined that it wasn't needed. It was turned down because of its vague statement of work and its poor function as an information system and because what is available now is better than LandTech. DOE has shut down three data systems that have the same type data in them because of low user volume. The city of Oak Ridge did a survey and determined the citizens do not have the size equipment it will take to run this system.

Ms. Heiskell felt the system was a loss leader and reported that DOE had gotten estimates of $200K to $600K to do just the beta test. The beta test at INEEL, she said, is a sub, sub, sub part of a subproject; it's so small that they don't even know what they will use it for. They're concerned about how many documents they're going to have to load up and what's the "bang for the buck." The LandTech folks admitted out there that it was never designed for public participation; it's for making project decisions.

Ms. Heiskell asked Board members "If you had to pay for it would you be interested in it? If not, then you're looking at it as free money, and it's not free money. If we have to load up even one watershed, we're looking a mega dollars for a database. The next question is, after spending a half million for the beta test, are you going to be willing to pull the plug after recommending that DOE spend that money? Will you be willing to pull the plug at the next half a million? Two million? Five million? When are you going to be willing to pull the plug? And that's very hard to do in a public arena."

Mr. Pardue said he understood that the INEEL LandTech pages weren't complete because negotiations were not complete on what project would go up. He said he had also not seen a proposal. Ms. Sigal commented that the "Summary of DOE/LandTech Preview, September 22" was the proposal. Mr. Pardue agreed that if that was the proposal, it wasn't a proposal at all. Mr. Pardue said that to the best of his knowledge, all turn downs of the system had been by DOE, not stakeholder groups.

Mr. Charles Washington urged the Board not to dismiss the proposal without thoroughly understanding it. If LandTech is a tool that allows stakeholders to get more information, he's all for it. To throw it out because it's a new system that many people don't know how to use would be very wrong. He asked the Board to defer action until all questions were answered by someone from LandTech.

Motions and Recommendations

Ms. Pat Rush moved to approve the minutes of the October 7 Board meeting. Ms. Rikki Traylor seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Mr. Peelle moved to send the FFA Appendix E Documents Project Team comments on the D1 Melton Valley Proposed Plan to DOE (Attachment 4). Mr. Steve Kopp seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Mr Jack Bowden moved to reject the LandTech proposal. Ms. Pat Rush seconded the motion. The motion carried, twelve for, one against, two abstentions. Mr. Charles Washington voted nay; Mr. Bill Pardue and Ms. Rikki Traylor abstained.

Mr. Bob Peelle moved to approve the recommendation for Including Public Involvement in Proposals for the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility at the Oak Ridge Reservation (Attachment 5). Washington seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Hillis, Secretary


Attachments (5)

Action Items

1. SSAB Support Office staff will create a cover letter and issue the FFA Appendix E Documents Project Team comments on the D1 Melton Valley Proposed Plan to DOE. Completed 11/5/98

2. SSAB Support Office staff will create a cover letter and issue the recommendation for Including Public Involvement in Proposals for the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility at the Oak Ridge Reservation. Completed 11/5/98

3. SSAB Support Office staff will create a cover letter and issue the Board's rankings on the Barriers to DOE-EM Progress to INEEL. Completed 11/6/98

1 Motion 2 Recommendation

ORSSAB Home List of Meeting Minutes