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Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

Approved January 5, 2000, Meeting Minutes
The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, January 5, 2000, at the Garden Plaza Hotel, Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape record of this meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the SSAB support office at 865-241-3665.

Members Present
James Alexander
Robert Blaum
Jeff Cange
Luther Gibson, Jr.
Steve Kopp, Chair
David Mosby
Bill Pardue
Pat Rush
Lorene Sigal
Darrell Srdoc
Charles Washington
Anne-Marie Wiest, Student Representative

Members Absent
Randy Gordon
Demetra Nelson, Vice Chair
Rikki Traylor, Secretary

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present
Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Dave Adler, DOE-ORO
Carolyn Davis, DOE-ORO
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present
Sheree Black, SSAB Support Office
Leah Dever, DOE
Richard Green, EPA
Chuck Jenkins, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Pete Osborne, SSAB Support Office

Ten members of the public attended the meeting.

Mr. Green opened his presentation with an overview of the EPA Region 4 Waste Management Division. Mr. Green said that the Superfund will likely run out of money this year although the laws associated with it will endure. How it will be funded in the future is uncertain. Region 4 employs about 350 people in the Waste Division and has recently assumed some counter-terrorism responsibilities.

How EPA conducts oversight at federal facilities. Region 4 has responsibility for about 50 major DOE and Department of Defense sites as well as many private and other type sites. Major goals for Region 4 oversight activities at federal facilities include the following:

• Implementation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Contingency Plan
• CERCLA/Resource Conservation and Recovery Act integration
• Coordination with other Region 4 program offices
• Consistency, as practicable as possible, with other federal facilities in Region 4

In regard to proposed sampling in the Scarboro Community, Mr. Green expressed regret that a considerable amount of time has elapsed since DOE’s sampling. Nonetheless, EPA is still committed to performing the sampling.

Concerning the request from the SSAB and the Local Oversight Committee (LOC) for EPA to establish a field office in Oak Ridge, Mr. Green explained that (1) objectivity of oversight may be enhanced by remaining in Atlanta; (2) resources for such a move are scarce—EPA is downsizing, which makes opening a field office nearly impossible, and Region 4 has been under a hiring freeze since June 1999; (3) Atlanta isn’t that far away; (4) Region 4 coordinates activities with other federal agencies, such as Air and Water, which may be hindered by operating a site office in Oak Ridge.

Mr. Green pointed out recent success stories at the Oak Ridge Reservation:

• Over 45 cleanup decisions have been made
• The Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF) Record of Decision (ROD) has been approved
• Over 95% of allocated funding for cleanup has been spent at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
• The public comment period for the Melton Valley Proposed Plan has been completed
• Tentative decisions have been reached for the K-1070-A Burial Ground and Bear Creek Valley RODs

Areas on which Region 4 wants to focus include the following:

• Continue dialogue at senior managers’ level with DOE
• Encourage use of innovative technologies
• Move quickly to develop waste acceptance criteria for EMWMF
• Facilitate enhancement of DOE’s working relationship with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and representatives of the Scarboro Community
• Reach consensus on a reindustrialization strategy for the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP)

During the answer and question period following Mr. Green’s presentation, Mr. Washington urged EPA to focus its study of the Scarboro Community on the possible cumulative effects relative to operation of the Y-12 Plant over a 50-year span. Mr. Green replied that while environmental justice concerns at Scarboro are very important to EPA, cumulative effects are extremely difficult to document.

Mr. Pardue commented that establishing an EPA office in Oak Ridge would foster a more collegial atmosphere between the agency and DOE, and even if EPA does not open an office, he hopes the two agencies can establish that comradery.

Ms. Rush asked if Mr. Green was satisfied with cleanup at ETTP. Mr. Green replied that while EPA supports reuse of National Priorities List sites, the agency has concerns. EPA lacks reliable data to make definitive determinations, however.

Mr. Srdoc asked how the Board’s letter concerning Scarboro sampling would be answered. Mr. Green deferred to Ms. Jones, who replied that EPA will respond to Board concerns when addressing public comments on the sampling plan.

Ms. Susan Gawarecki, LOC Executive Director, explained that the LOC’s reasons for wanting a local EPA office go beyond just improved relationships to include a better understanding by EPA of stakeholder concerns. Many meetings in Oak Ridge go unattended by EPA, she said.

In regard to Scarboro sampling, Ms. Gawarecki asserted that the Woodland Community has been overlooked in studies of Y-12 emissions. Mr. Green promised to supply Ms. Gawarecki an answer on why Woodland isn’t included in the proposed sampling. Ms. Gawarecki asked Mr. Green’s view of the watershed concept. Mr. Green replied that Region 4 was an early proponent for limiting use of operable units and that the watershed approach is a good one if it allows appropriate cleanup decisions. EPA is not against the watershed approach, but agreeing on when it’s appropriate is the sticking point. The Upper East Fork Poplar Creek Feasibility Study, for example, is at odds in part with the UEFPC Remedial Investigation.

Ms. Gawarecki followed up by asking if EPA supported End Use Working Group recommendations for UEFPC. Mr. Green was unable to respond, and Ms. Jones offered to supply an answer.

Mr. J.B. Hill, Jr.—President of the NAACP, Oak Ridge Branch, and Chairman of the Scarboro Environmental Oversight Committee—objected to statements in the newspapers and other sources that Gamble Valley (Scarboro) residents initially settled there by choice. That decision, he said, was made by two or three black community leaders and the Corps of Engineers. The only choice offered was to move to Gamble Valley or continue living in cramped Quonset huts.

Mr. James Lewis, a member of the Oak Ridge Environmental Justice Committee, urged that EPA and other federal agencies take the time to understand the specific needs of Scarboro and treat residents as a professional community. He recommended that sampling documents include executive summaries and that EPA provide examples of sampling in other communities.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. Nelson asked members to take note of the "Identification of Preferred Alternatives for the DOE’s Waste Management Program: Low-Level Waste and Mixed Low-Level Waste Disposal Sites," which had been provided in Board notebooks. Recruitment of new Board members is underway and should be complete mid-spring.

Public Comment

No comments were made.

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, February 2, 6:00 p.m., at Roane State Community College in Harriman. A representative from TDEC will discuss Watts Bar fish advisories: how they’re developed, why they’re important to the community, and how updates are made.

Mr. Washington called for discussion of manpower utilization statistics to be added to the agenda. In discussion of the issue, Mr. Washington asked that the SSAB invite a representative from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance to address the Board about manpower issues, and he offered to draft the invitation.

No additions or corrections were made to December 1, 1999, Board meeting minutes.

The Board voted to adopt the following addition to Bylaws Article V.B.3: "The Board year begins with the election of officers."

Mr. Gibson asked that the record show that Dyllis Elementary outreach was completed on December 16, 1999.

Ms. Sigal asked the Board to review recommendations made in the Stewardship Working Group’s Stakeholder Report on Stewardship, Volume 2, for approval at the February Board meeting and subsequent transmittal to DOE as Board recommendations.

Ms. Sigal informed the Board that EPA-Headquarters is seeking stakeholder input on its public participation policies and regulations—specifically in two areas: "What changes need to be made to the 1981 Policy on Public Participation?" and "How can we further engage the public in the effort to revise the 1981 policy and other regulations?" Ms. Jones offered to supply information.

Mr. Pardue gave a report on the recent meeting of the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee. Activities are in a lull pending resolution of funding issues.

Motions and Recommendations

Mr. Alexander moved to approve the minutes of the December 1, 1999, Board meeting. Ms. Sigal seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Mr. Alexander moved to approve the amendment to the Board Bylaws, Article V.B.3. Ms. Sigal seconded the motion, and the motion was approved, ten for, one against, with Mr. Gibson casting the dissenting vote.

Respectfully submitted,
Rikki Traylor, Secretary


Attachments (None)

1 Motion

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