Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

Approved October 6, 1999, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 6, 1999, at the Oak Ridge Mall Club Room, 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 423-241-3665.

Members Present

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

Members Absent

Robert Brown
Jeff Cange
Randy Gordon
Rikki Traylor, Secretary

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO) Deputy Designated Federal Official
Dave Adler, DOE-ORO Ex Officio
Carolyn Davis, DOE-ORO SSAB Management and Liaison
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 Ex Officio
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Ex Officio

Others Present

Leah Dever, Manager, DOE-ORO
Walter Perry, DOE-ORO
Sheree Black, SSAB Support Office
Chuck Jenkins, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Pete Osborne, SSAB Support Office

Ten members of the public attended the meeting.


Ms. Dever gave a presentation entitled "Oak Ridge Offices Outlook" (Attachment 1). During her presentation, Ms. Dever reported on ORO Environmental Management (EM) successes: 19,000 acres of the 37,000-acre Oak Ridge Reservation have been approved for "No Further Investigation" designation; 60% of the fissile materials at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment have been transferred to safer storage; the waste repackaging facility at the K-25 Building was moved to a safer location; 40,000 gallons of sludge from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory gunite tanks have been removed; the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator (TSCAI) has recorded 8 years of safe operation; and some wastes have started moving off the reservation [e.g., 1.4 million kilograms of East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) pond waste were sent to Envirocare in Utah].

Following the presentation, Ms. Sigal asked if the 19,000 acres can be "delisted" from the National Priorities List. Ms. Dever replied that these acres cannot be separated from the reservation; it must be delisted in total.

Mr. Pardue asked Ms. Dever to comment on the political climate for recycling contaminated materials. Ms. Dever responded that DOE will need to watch developments in Congress. If federal legislation is passed barring DOE site offices from recycling contaminated materials until national standards are set, it will impact the work of British Nuclear Fuels—particularly its nickel recycling operations.

Mr. Washington asked about recent layoffs. How do you make sure the downsizing is done according to criteria and that DOE’s criteria are being followed by contractors? What can you do to remove the distrust that exists among workers? Ms. Dever said that removing distrust is a long process that requires living up to commitments. Industrial relations specialists oversee reductions in staff; 99% of the time the process was carried out correctly. Mr. Washington said that layoffs decimate staff levels of African-Americans, and he asked Mr. Dever and her staff to investigate recent layoffs in light of his comments.

Ms. Rush recommended that exit interviews be conducted with laid-off workers to help offset knowledge base erosion.

Mr. Blaum asked if Ms. Dever had any information about the proposed change in retirement points. Ms. Dever replied that other aspects of the retirement package have kept the issue from going forward.

Mr. Dan Axelrod, a local stakeholder, suggested DOE sponsor a public meeting on his proposal "Trade Off Cleanup $1 Billion for Constructive Action" (Attachment 1 to September 1, 1999, Board minutes) and asked what DOE-ORO is doing about his proposal. Ms. Dever explained that Congress doles out monies for specific activities (such as EM), and that a field office may not lobby Congress to change that structure. She recommended Mr. Axelrod take his proposal to Congressional representatives instead of DOE.

Ms. Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee Executive Director, asked about DOE site office layoffs. Ms. Dever replied that a 5% reduction has been mandated for 1999, but DOE-ORO is already near that goal. Through managed attrition the office has downsized from 770 around 5 years ago to 570 now. Ms. Dever does not anticipate having to make any reductions in staff at this time.

Mr. John Steward of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical, and Energy Workers Union, Local 3-288, expressed concerns about layoffs, asserting that the real problem is Bechtel Jacobs’ lack of interest in keeping Lockheed Martin employees. He also asked why Y-12 workers get 60 days notice and ETTP workers only get 30 days. Ms. Dever was unable to answer his second question but said she would take his and Mr. Washington’s comments to a contract coordinating council meeting tomorrow.

Mr. Tom Sherrod asked about the status of the Nevada Test Site (NTS) as a disposal option for ORO wastes. Ms. Dever deferred to Mr. Nelson, who replied that the Record of Decision amendment for NTS should be signed by the end of the calendar year. Dr. Carolyn Huntoon, Assistant Secretary for EM, will be here tomorrow, and he will discuss it with her then.

Mr. Washington asked about TSCAI’s role in equity. Mr. Nelson replied that he thinks once NTS is open to ORO wastes, the state of Tennessee may approve the TSCAI burn plan.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. Nelson reported that Marianne Heiskell has left EM temporarily to work on the transfer of security forces to the Wackenhut contract and would no longer serve as the Board’s ex officio. Her duties will be split between Dave Adler, who will serve as ex officio, and Carolyn Davis, who will oversee management and liaison of the Board. Mr. Nelson also reported that Carolyn Huntoon will speak at the National Governors’ Association meeting tomorrow and will return for the Stewardship Workshop in Oak Ridge this fall.

Mr. Nelson presented Bill Pardue, who retired from his position as SSAB Chair on September 1, with a plaque recognizing his service to the Board. Mr. Kopp presented Mr. Pardue with a poster from the SSAB, signed by the members, staff, and ex officios.

Ms. Jones updated the Board on Ms. Dever’s visit to EPA Region 4. Among other topics, the agencies discussed approaches to reindustrialization of ETTP. Ms. Jones also reported that the Keystone evaluation of EPA has been delayed because of contractual issues.

Public Comment

Mr. Daniel Axelrod distributed a letter he had written to Ms. Dever summarizing aspects of his budget proposal (available upon request from the SSAB Support Office).

Mr. Al Brooks, a member of the Stewardship Working Group (SWG), asked that the SSAB Executive Committee approve additional technical assistance for work on the SWG final report.

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, November 3, 6:00 p.m., at the Garden Plaza Hotel. Rod Nelson, DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for EM, will be the featured presenter.

Because of a conflict with the SSAB Stewardship Workshop, the next Executive Committee meeting will be held on Thursday, October 21, instead of the usual fourth Monday of the month.

Ms. Rush recommended the Board send Ms. Heiskell a letter thanking her for her service to the Board. Mr. Kopp volunteered to write the letter.

Additions to the agenda: Mr. Pardue requested discussion of the EPA Draft Environmental Sampling Plan for the Scarboro Community. Mr. Srdoc asked for discussion of the FBI presence at American Ecology.

Additions or corrections to September 1, 1999, meeting minutes: Ms. Rush said the minutes showed "Larry Gibson," but she thinks the spelling is "Gipson." She also requested that "Larry Robinson, a long-time resident" be changed to "Larry Robinson, a former long-time resident." Mr. Pardue asked that the word "on" be removed from the phrase "one will be supplied on at the September 16 meeting" on page 3, paragraph 1.

In discussion of Robert Brown’s two consecutive absences from monthly Board meetings, no one was able to supply information on the circumstances of his absences. Ms. Sigal moved that the Board recommend DOE withdraw its membership offer to Mr. Brown since he has not signed and returned his offer letter.

Mr. Kopp reported that the public forum planned for October 29 in Oak Ridge has been canceled because of conflicts in legislators’ schedules.

Ms. Rush remarked that she found the "Evaluation of the DOE Public Involvement Programs: Proposed Statement of Work" (included as an attachment to the Executive Committee meeting minutes) to be unacceptable, and she recommended the Board write a letter asking DOE to find new authors for the project. An ad hoc committee was formed to draft the letter, and Mr. Pardue suggested addressing it to Martha Crosland. Mr. Kopp volunteered to write the letter and then send it to Mr. Gibson and Ms. Rush for comment. Because the letter must be sent as soon as possible, no Board approval will be necessary.

Ms. Sigal informed the Board that the national SSAB Stewardship Workshop will be held October 25–27 in Oak Ridge. A DOE-Headquarters Stewardship Scoping Meeting will be held October 28 at the Oak Ridge Mall. A tentative agenda for the SSAB Stewardship Workshop was distributed. The Stewardship Working Group’s (SWG’s) draft document will be sent to Board members for review on October 22; comments are due November 5. The final document will be published by December 10.

Ms. Sigal requested that the charter of the SSAB Stewardship Team be renewed for Fiscal Year 2000 at the Board’s retreat.

Chairman Kopp asked for volunteers to serve as the SSAB’s representative to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET). Mr. Pardue volunteered and was elected to serve.

In discussion of the Draft Environmental Sampling Plan for the Scarboro Community, Ms. Jones reported that the 60-day public comment period has been extended until after EPA can supply all Scarboro residents with a copy of the plan. The Board will discuss how to comment on the plan at the annual retreat, October 15–16.

On the FBI presence at American Ecology, Ms. Jones said she had little information, but she understood that the inquiry had something to do with materials being processed by the company.

Motions and Recommendations

Ms. Rush moved to approve the amended meeting agenda. Mr. Washington seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Rush presented the motion to approve the revised minutes of the September 1, 1999, Board meeting. Mr. Washington seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Sigal moved that the Board recommend DOE withdraw its membership offer to Robert Brown since he has missed two consecutive Board meetings and has not signed and returned his offer letter. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Rush moved that the Board write a letter to DOE requesting that new authors be appointed to write the "Evaluation of the DOE Public Involvement Programs." Mr. Pardue seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Mr. Washington moved for approval of Mr. Pardue as the Board’s representative to CROET. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,
Rikki Traylor, Secretary

Attachments (1)

1 Motion

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