Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved August 2, 2003, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Saturday, August 2, 2003, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 4 p.m., following the Board’s annual planning retreat. A video tape recording of the meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the ORSSAB support office at 865-576-1590.

Members Present

Ben Adams
Jake Alexander
Dick Berry
Donna Campbell, Secretary
Heather Cothron
Amy DeMint
Luther Gibson
Pat Hill
John Kennerly
Barbara Kosny1
John Million
David Mosby, Chair,
Norman Mulvenon, Vice Chair
Linda Murawski
Luis Revilla
George Rimel
Atur Sheth1
Christopher Smith
Kerry Trammel

1Student representative

Members Absent

Colin Loring
Bob McLeod

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO EM
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO EM

Others Present

Jeannie Brandstetter, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC (BJC)
Jim McBrayer, BJC
Pete Osborne, BJC

No members of the public attended the meeting.

Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO) and Ex-Officio Comments.

Mr. Mulvenon requested that Mr. McCracken address ongoing DOE budget issues. Mr. McCracken informed the Board that he had presented a non-labor FY 2004 budget to DOE Headquarters, but that he had not yet received feedback. He added that pressure is being exerted to keep budgets flat or even to decrease them, but there’s no indication that ORSSAB activities will not be covered. He indicated that his funding request for ORSSAB in FY 2004 was higher than that of FY 2003, ostensibly to cover overhead and travel expenses that were not funded by EM-11 as expected in FY 03. Mr. McCracken said he was reasonably optimistic that ORSSAB’s current scope of work and services would receive financial support.

Ms. Halsey invited members to a meeting on Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) set for Aug. 12, from 8 a.m. to noon at the offices of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) in Oak Ridge. Members were invited to attend and learn about a DOE EM-50 alternative project in Savannah River that could have impact on groundwater issues on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Participants include DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency and TDEC.

Announcements and Other Board Business

Mr. Mosby announced that the next Board meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003, at the DOE Information Center.  The meeting will feature an overview of the Tennessee Oversight Agreement as it pertains to ongoing monitoring programs. John Owsley, Director of the DOE Oversight Division of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and ORSSAB ex officio member, will provide the information.

Minutes of the July 9, 2003, Board meeting were approved as final.

The Board approved agenda item IV.B, a “Request that DOE Respond to ORSSAB Recommendations on Long-Term Stewardship” (Attachment 1).

Mr. Mulvenon said the motivation of writing this recommendation came from the Stewardship committee’s desire to learn from DOE the status of unresolved local and national issues on long term stewardship and to bring to closure recommendations previously made to DOE. Mr. McCracken pointed out to members that “the birth of the nationwide stewardship movement” had taken place in Oak Ridge.

The Board also approved an amended version of agenda item IV.C, “Comments on Long-Term Stewardship of DOE Waste Sites - A Status Report” (Attachment 2) in which the Board endorses the National Research Council study and conclusions on long term stewardship and the Department of Energy. Mr. Alexander amended the motion, suggesting that the letter be restructured to include the report’s “Chief Finding” for the purpose of providing background information for the letter’s recipients. The amendment also included sending copies of the letter to Mike Owen and Dave Geiser at EM-51.

Mr. Adams, chair of the Nominating Committee, opened the floor for nominations for the offices of Board Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. None were made, and the presented slate – Dave Mosby/Chair, Norman Mulvenon/Vice Chair and Luis Revilla/Secretary – was voted in unanimously by all those present and voting.

Mr. Mosby pointed out correspondence contained in the member notebook, including a letter from ORSSAB to DOE regarding the Board’s recommendation endorsing the installation of an underdrain at Cell 3 of the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, and a memo regarding a scheduled demonstration and meeting between DOE and regulators to discuss Monitored Natural Attenuation.

The Board also elected to hold the next annual planning retreat and meeting on Saturday, August 7, 2004.

Public comment


The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.



Ms. Campbell moved to approve the July 9, 2003 minutes as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.


Mr. Million moved to approve the “Request that DOE Respond to ORSSAB Recommendations on Long-Term Stewardship” (Attachment 2). The motion was approved by 16 members present and voting. Ms. Hill abstained.


Mr. Million moved to approved item IV. C, “Comments on Long-Term Stewardship of DOE Waste Sites - A Status Report” (Attachment 3). The motion as amended by Mr. Alexander was approved by 16 members present and voting. Ms. Hill abstained.


Mr. Adams presented a slate of officers for approval, which was unanimously approved.


Mr. Million moved to set a date for the next planning retreat on Saturday, August 7,  2004. The motion was approved by 16 members present and voting. Mr. Berry abstained.

Respectfully submitted,

Luis Revilla, Secretary


Attachments (2) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.


ORSSAB Annual Retreat Summary

DOE Information Resource Center

August 2, 2003

The following summarizes the ORSSAB Annual Retreat held on August 2, 2003.  Included are the discussion points of the survey results and other actions captured during the Retreat.  Survey questions that elicited no discussion was not included in this summary.

Survey Results Discussion and Actions

#2         How effective is the SSAB general organization in achieving it goals?



-      Our procedures seem to hinder our effectiveness (e.g., time frames for reviewing documents, dealing with various officials and their responsiveness, etc.).

-      We need a better understanding of procedures and how they are supposed to work.


-           Additional orientation training for new members and assigning a mentor would be helpful.

-           A review of the history of the SSAB for new members would be beneficial.

       Committee Work

-      Committee chairs need to involve more members in doing the Committee work.

-      Suggestion was made to write “white papers” highlighting the facts and possible options.  Resources for drafting papers was discussed as a possible concern.


-           Need realistic goals as to what the SSAB is supposed to achieve. Suggestion - DOE give us a statement of what they expect.

-           Much discussion focused on “how can we quantify how we are effecting the program?” Need to highlight where we have made an impact and publicize it.  

-           Discussion focused on the fact that our effectiveness is not just making recommendations but also where we have questioned a process or decision, which led to more insight on the topic.

-           Recent HQ requests for sites to justify/quantify SSAB value to EM is at odds with ORSSAB mission statement, which says nothing about having to justify the SSAB’s existence in terms of money saved or number of recommendations made. HQ would seem to be changing the rules without telling the SSABs.

#5         How would you rate the output of the SSAB committees in effectiveness?


       Committees may need help prioritizing what to address.

       SSAB members noted that they can choose what we respond too.


-      Need to find ways to get more people involved in the committee recommendations.

-           Need more discussion than only once per month.  SSAB members agreed that they would contact other members for input and help and maintain greater level of communication.


-      The committee procedures as to how we are organized are such that we “seem to shoot ourselves in the foot” and they seem to hinder our effectiveness.  Suggestion was made that we review Committee Procedures.

       Response time

-      Committees need the information earlier in order to have more time to respond.  SSAB discussed that this is not always possible given that DOE may not have received the required information in a timely manner either.

-           Discussed that following a committee meeting, a recommendation would be made to DOE. Further that the Steering Committee will meet to obtain more comments on the recommendation.


#6         Which methods of communication do you prefer?


       Contact list

-      Regarding the contact list for the SSAB, add a column showing who is on what committee to facilitate increased contact among members.


-      A suggestion was made to have “communication training” for SSAB members.

       Conference calls prior to committee meetings

-           Hold conference calls with the presenters before committee meetings so we can assure the appropriate level and content of the presenters material


-           Suggest that SSAB Support Staff condense committee meeting information and send it via e-mail prior to Board meetings.


#7         How valuable is the Support Staff to our members?


       Accolades for Support Staff

-           The last two months have improved immensely.

-           Pete provides a good summary of the media headlines.

       Confirm information receipt

-           Have Staff send an e-mail notifying members that material is being mailed and to call if they do not receive it by a specific date.


-           Suggestion was made for the Committee members to work more closely with Support Staff.         

#17       What is your perception of DOE?


       HQ vs. Local

-           SSAB discussed reasons for why they responded “Secretive” on the survey.  SSAB stated that their perception was related to HQ not local staff, and that it is at the HQ level that they believe the information is not flowing.

-           It is perceived that directive come from HQ, not requests for input. Further, members perceived this HQ strategy as a “dump and run” way of doing business.

-           The OUO document security issues appears reflective of the changed perception towards DOE.

-           Some members felt that DOE “paid lip service” to public comment on the ACP.


-           SSAB requested more information on the budget


-           SSAB noted that DOE needed to address stewardship more seriously.

#20       How would you rate the adequacy of the support provided by DOE?



-           Budget is needed to support the SSAB.


-           Suggestion was made for the Issue Manager, DOE Representative, and Presenter to meet prior to committee meetings to review what information is needed by the committee from the Presenter.


-           SSAB noted that they would like to see more local ability to negotiate disputes, and DOE agreed.

-           SSAB discussed the current status of the formal dispute on RH –TRU Waste issue and the informal dispute on “milestones”.

-           DOE agreed that they would share more details about disputes and what discussions have been between the various agencies regarding dispute status and resolution.

#21 and #22     How would you rate the adequacy of the support provided by EPA and TDEC?



-           SSAB noted that feedback provided at the Board meetings by EPA and TDEC is minimal and they would like more information from the regulators.

-           SSAB agreed that they need to take a more active role in telling EPA and TDEC what information they want.

       Attendance at committee meetings

-           SSAB requested that, when appropriate, they would like the regulators to attend their committee meetings.

#23       Do you think the SSAB should participate in the prioritization of the EM budget?


       We need to ensure that projects that are important to the SSAB do not get dropped.

       DOE (Steve McCracken) suggested that DOE discuss the prioritization of the projects with the SSAB.

       DOE also suggested, if the Board is interested, brining in someone to discuss how the budgeting process works.

 Other Discussion

Number of Committees

Members discussed the issues associated with how to get more involvement on the committees.  Several ideas were shared including combining committees.

       The SSAB discussed three options:  1) combining the Environmental Restoration (ER) and Waste Management (WM) committees, 2) maintaining ER and WM committees as they are, and 3) keeping the two committees as they are but holding them back to back on the same evening to enhance participation.

       After much discussion, the SSAB voted on the motion of establishing one committee – the Environmental Management Committee to include both committees.

-           8 members voted to combine the committees

-           6 abstained

-           3 voted to maintain the status quo

Committee Logistics  - Meeting Date/Time

       Stewardship Committee

-           Tuesday, August 19, 5:30 p.m.

       Environmental Management Committee

-           Wednesday, August 20, 5:30 p.m.

       Committee Actions – First Meeting

-           “Flesh-out” work plan sheets

-           Prioritize topics

-           Select chair, vice chair, and issue managers

-           Set standard meeting date and time

Committee Topic Additions

       DOE suggested that SSAB review the Comprehensive Exit Strategy” to be developed by BJC.

-           This is to be developed within 6 months of signing the Accelerated Cleanup contract.

       Fractionating of work and how it will globally effect Oak Ridge.

       Reminder to have “Education” topic added to Stewardship Committee.

       Consider adding increased public involvement and outreach to the committee topics.

-      SSAB discussed that they should focus more on reaching out to the community through schools, local organizations, etc.

Other Considerations

       Re-survey the SSAB 6 months from now.

       Consider holding semi-annual retreats.

       Consider providing SSAB members with access to DOE site and 55 Jefferson

-           Pat Hill requested access to Y-12 Cemetery since most of her relatives are buried there.

       Future Board topic

-      Suggestion was made to review the past 20 years history in an effort to realize what changes have occurred within DOE and OR pertaining to the perceptions of “secrecy”.

SSAB Retreat Evaluation


-           One day is best.

-           Food was excellent.

-           Location was good (some suggested offsite next time).

-           Saturday worked well (better than evenings).

-           The work done in advance was very beneficial (i.e., Board Process committee planning; review of potential topics by the committees; having DOE, TDEC, and EPA discuss their topics with the board prior to the retreat).


-           New members need more orientation in order to participate more effectively.

-           Suggestion was made to include “team” activities.  Other members did not share this suggestion.

-           Committees should have prioritized their issues at the July committee meetings.

-           The board should have spent time during the retreat setting an overall direction/focus/goals for the board, not just the committees.