Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved November 12, 2003, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 12, 2003, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape recording of the meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the DOE Information Center at (865) 241-4780.

Members Present

Ben Adams
Jake Alexander
Rhonda Bogard
Donna Campbell
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, Secretary
George Rimel
Christopher Smith
Kerry Trammell

1Student representative

Members Absent

Dick Berry2
Bob McLeod
Atur Sheth1

2Second consecutive absence

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex Officio, DOE-Oak Ridge Operations (DOE-ORO)
Pat Halsey
, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO
Connie Jones
, Ex Officio, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO
John Owsley, Ex
Officio, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

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

Three members of the public attended the meeting.


Ralph Skinner, DOE-ORO Long-Term Stewardship Program Manager, discussed the Advance Draft Risk-Based End State Vision document for the Oak Ridge Reservation. A copy of Mr. Skinner’s presentation is included as Attachment 1. The guidance provided by DOE-Headquarters to prepare the document would require an estimated $500,000 expenditure, according to Mr. Skinner. With no provisions in the budget for such an outlay, DOE-ORO determined that the consensus-building work had really already been done and that the document could be provided to DOE-Headquarters with minimal additional cost, although it would not meet certain requested formats.

During and after the presentation, questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following (abridged) responses were given by Mr. Skinner and others.


Response (Abridged)

Mr. Trammell – Is the document unique to Oak Ridge, or did other people do the same thing?

Mr. Skinner – I don’t know of another in the same vein. Other sites may have done something similar.

Mr. McCracken – I think that most places, if they’ve got decisions or they’re moving toward decisions, then they have end uses to fund. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, we tried to make decisions without any idea of what the end use would be because we could never seem to get there. What really turned the tide in terms of getting Records of Decisions (RODs) was activities like this one where the community involvement was there for determining what the end use would be.

Mr. Trammell – How could you have a ROD that meant anything if you didn’t know what the end use was going to be?

Mr. Skinner – It certainly made it more difficult.


Mr. Adams - Will there come a time when the litany of descriptions of sites may be so big that you don’t really mean that?

Mr. Skinner – DOE-ORO is going to try to regenerate its Management Teamthe real estate team for the reservation. That committee is going to recommend an annual update to the land use master plan for the reservation, which will be revisited on an annual basis.

Mr. Kennerly – Is this driven to any extent by the accelerated cleanup schedule?

Mr. Skinner – Not specifically for Oak Ridge. There’s some measure of trying to accelerate cleanup at all the sites. It’s just another way of trying to optimize the Environmental Management (EM) program and to hasten its completion.

Mr. Gibson – At a meeting in the D.C. area last week, intergovernmental groups had a meeting with DOE, and Bob Card made reference to an agreement in Idaho where they were planning to go beyond risk-based because of marketing for their agriculture. All communities are concerned with their image.

Mr. Skinner – The way the draft document for Oak Ridge is structured, the vision is consistent with what the program entities want to do. There’s nothing to interfere with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) or Office of Science in fostering their mission programs.


Mr. Mulvenon - It’s one thing to say we disagree with the guidance and the implementation plan, but is DOE-Headquarters going to buy that?


Mr. McCracken - I think that what we have presented will be acceptable.

Mr. Mulvenon - As a group we probably agree; all I’m asking is from a political standpoint, whether we’re going to have a problem with it or not. I like the approach.

Mr. McCracken – I really do believe it will be acceptable. If anything, Jessie Roberson will hold Oak Ridge up as an example of what it is she’s looking for.

Susan Gawarecki (Exec. Director, Local Oversight Committee) – An area I have a concern about is Upper East Fork Poplar Creek. The End Use Working Group recommended an uncontrolled industrial use for the eastern end, but I understand that NNSA is thinking they’re not going to want the east end developed. I think it would be much cheaper to go for a more comprehensive cleanup of the east end now than to do a partial or less comprehensive cleanup now and then go back and redo it. I’m also concerned that this document was written without community input at the front end. If we have substantial disagreement with any part of this, is there an opportunity for it to be changed, or has it already been basically decided?

Mr. Skinner – What we were asked to do is submit the document to DOE-Headquarters and at the same time make it available to the public. There’s certainly an opportunity for public input and an opportunity to change it.



Ms. Gawarecki – Will there be an established deadline for comments? When will we get a chance to look at the next version?

Mr. McCracken - We do need to set some timeframes, and I think that would be consistent with what DOE-Headquarters is looking for.

Mr. Mulvenon – Did you say that this is a draft, and the final is due on January 31?

Mr. Skinner – That’s what DOE-Headquarters gave us in a letter of late September.

Mr. Owsley – I just want to clarify that it is important for the public to comment on this document. I believe DOE wants comments, and there may be an opportunity to modify the document as a result of those comments. The decision Susan was referring to is actually part of a ROD that will undergo public comment and review under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). So regardless of what the Risk-Based Vision Statement says, the public will have opportunity to comment on all future cleanup decisions under CERCLA.

It is important for the public to comment because it is DOE-Headquarter’s intention to reduce cleanup costs, even if that involves changing RODs or changing existing law. They’ve actually approached Congress to change environmental law, so it is a very serious effort, and the state would be grateful for public input.

Mr. Skinner – Nothing changes there at all.

Ms. Murawski – What will be the opportunity for the public? Will you include activities whereby the public can come in person and comment? Is that part of the strategizing?

Mr. McCracken – We’ll come up with some timeframes so everybody understands what we’re looking for and how we’re going to respond to it.

Mr. Skinner – My thought was that we would utilize the SSAB to provide that broad public input.

Mr. Alexander - When this becomes final, will it functionally replace the End Use Working Group recommendations?


Mr. Skinner – No. Since our RODs refer back to the End Use Working Group recommendations relative to end land use at the sites, my recommendation would be that it would not replace it.

Mr. Alexander – I’m not sure I understand what purpose this does serve relative to Oak Ridge.

Mr. Skinner – We don’t either.

Mr. Alexander – How does the output relate to applicable or relevant and appropriate requirement selection and evaluation in the CERCLA decision-making process?

Mr. McCracken – You should assume that it would have some influence. That’s the intent of it, and you should be thinking about that as you’re commenting on it. This document has no authority under CERCLA.

Mr. Alexander – Where exactly would this plug into the CERCLA decision-making process?

Mr. McCracken – I don’t know, but I believe that this document could have influence on decisions yet to be made or even perhaps decisions that have already been made; maybe not in Oak Ridge but in other places.

Mr. Alexander – Are they going to change the CERCLA process?

Mr. McCracken – No.

Mr. Alexander – If someone were to say ‘Gee, there’s not really much to be gained by folks in this community worrying about this document, spending a lot of time reviewing it and coming up with comments,’ what would be your take on that?

Mr. McCracken – I would say you need to review the document.

Mr. Gibson – I heard Dave Geiser say at the meeting last week that Risk-Based End States doesn’t give DOE license to change CERCLA without seeking changes through legislative means. We have a period here that same document is available to the public at the same time it’s being reviewed at DOE-Headquarters, with the final due on Jan. 31. How will we know about the comments from DOE-Headquarters and how they’re being handled and melded with any comments we would make?

Mr. Skinner – I’ll see what I can find out on that and let the Board know.

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

Department of Energy - Mr. McCracken told the Board that DOE had been recertified under Integrated Safety Management System. Normally, DOE and BJC would be certified together, but they were inspected separately this year. BJC passed, and for three months DOE prepared plans, processes, and personnel training. He said it was good for DOE as an organization to be looked at by itself, and it passed with high marks.

The December Board meeting will feature a “state of the cleanup” presentation, with large public turnout expected. Topics will include work accomplished in FY 2003, plans for work to be accomplished in FY 2004, the Bechtel Jacobs contract, and the lifecycle baseline.

Mr. Adams asked if the contract/funding gap is under control or if it would be addressed at the December meeting. Mr. McCracken said news articles are misleading when they point to “shortfalls” in funding. This was a business deal between DOE and BJC, he said, that was expected to be challenging and offers great rewards to BJC if they meet the challenge. Mr. McCracken went on to say that it is DOE’s responsibility to pay for the work whatever it costs.

Mr. Alexander asked if DOE is backing away from firm fixed price contracting. Mr. McCracken replied that DOE seeks the flexibility to get the work done in the most expedient way for taxpayers and to be safe while they do it.

Mr. Adler told Board members that some of them would be asked to hear a dry run of the presentation for the December presentation to which the public will be invited. He also noted that regulator comments on Appendix E of the Lifecycle Baseline are beginning to come in. He said schedules should be negotiated within a month or so.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation - Mr. Owsley had no announcements.

Environmental Protection Agency – Ms. Jones had no announcements.

Public Comment


Announcements and Other Board Business

The minutes of the October 8, 2003, Board meeting were approved with minor editorial edits.

The FY 2004 ORSSAB Work Plan, which was presented at the October Board meeting, was approved unanimously, with the revision that Heather Cothron be removed from the roster of the EM Committee and added to that of the Public Outreach Committee.

Two members with two consecutive meeting absences each were on the agenda for membership reconsideration. Pat Hill, by her presence and in accordance with the bylaws, was removed from consideration for removal from the Board. Dick Berry was absent for a third meeting, but Mr. Revilla had contacted him and reported to members that Mr. Berry’s schedule had interfered with meeting attendance. Mr. Trammell pointed out that Mr. Berry had participated in a Ground Water Subcommittee meeting on Nov. 10. Mr. McBrayer told members that a vote was not required, merely allowed. The issue was postponed until the December meeting. Mr. Gibson voted against tabling the issue, noting he would prefer to excuse the absences.

Mr. Mosby shared with the Board that an action is moving forward from the September Chairs meeting in Paducah. The Chairs wish to address public participation issues as the sites transition from EM to the Office of Legacy Management.

Mr. Adams presented a certificate to DOE for transforming Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act into the acronym EEOICPA.

Three documents were distributed: updated ORSSAB Travel Guidelines and Procedures (Attachment 2); a summary of the September 26-27, 2003, EM SSAB Chairs Meeting (Attachment 3); and FY 2004-2006 Federal Facility Agreement Appendix E Milestones (Attachment 4).

Board Finance Committee – Mr. Trammell told members there had been a change in plans for what was going to happen in terms of the Board members taking more responsibility of directing ORSSAB funds. He said the biggest change was that travel was being directed through DOE, but the remainder of the work, which had been directed through BJC, was staying with the contractor. He said the committee had discussed expenditures and ways to streamline those costs, in addition to requesting committee input on travel estimates.

Ms. Halsey said initially BJC would supply only staff support, and she would have to place contracts to fund the facilitator and other work. She said continuing on with no additional cost through BJC was more feasible than putting new contracts in place in such a short timeframe.

It was noted that BJC Diner’s Club cards issued in members’ names could be retained so long as members were willing to pay the annual renewal fee.

EM Committee - Mr. Gibson reported that the EM Committee met on October 15 to hear a presentation on monitored natural attenuation. Mr. Mulvenon reported that the Groundwater Subcommittee had met Nov. 10 to discuss the site-wide groundwater strategy and how to respond to it. Mr. Mulvenon reported no movement had been made on beginning a groundwater primer. The committee’s next meeting is November 19. John Michael Japp will present an update on the EM Waste Management Facility, and Jim Cudahy and Tom Busmann of Focus Environmental in Knoxville will discuss uses for the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator beyond its proposed 2006 closure. Mr. McCracken noted that DOE’s current plan is to close the incinerator by 2006. Mr. Gibson agreed that the Board needed to be aware of DOE’s present path, and said he had worked closely with DOE staff to keep them abreast of the presentation.

Public Outreach Committee – Mr. Mulvenon reported that the committee had met and is seeking members to join the speakers’ bureau. The Advocate newsletter has been reviewed, and Mr. Mulvenon said any item that goes to the public will be reviewed by the committee. The next meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Stewardship Committee - Mr. Adams reported that the Stewardship Committee met on October 16. Among items on the agenda were discussion review of the Draft Student Summary of the Stakeholder Report on Stewardship (Vols. 1 & 2), setting up a meeting with Steve McCracken to discuss stewardship issues, and stewardship costs/inclusion in decision documents. The committee’s next meeting is November 18, 2003. Linda Eble and Ken Wingo will discuss official use only requirements.

Mr. Adams reported that he, Mr. Skinner, and Al Brook had met with the Register of Deeds and the Property Assessor for Anderson County to see if basic land title searches turn up information on DOE land-use restrictions. Mr. Adams said he had been working on the December topic, which relates to reservation maps, with Chuck Spoons of DOE.

Executive Committee – Mr. Mosby asked committee issue managers to take more ownership of their issues in the month prior to the time when their issues arise. He also asked members to report to staff the method of communication they most prefer.

Board Process Committee – Mr. Revilla noted that the Board Process Committee had not met since the last Board meeting. The next meeting is set for Nov. 19 prior to the EM meeting. He made a request for new members to join.

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey gave a presentation on the options for near-term and long-term support for the Board, as prescribed by DOE-Headquarters (Attachment 5). The two long-term options are self-performance of support work by DOE and incorporation of the Board as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Several Board members said that it would be foolish to agree to follow the grant process without assurance from DOE that the excess costs would be covered. Others voiced the opinion that self-administration will subtract from the mission of the Board.

Mr. McCracken said the level of service now being provided is the level of service required, and the DOE-Oak Ridge intends to request money to maintain the level of service the Board is getting today. Ms. Halsey said a request for increased funding would have to be submitted to DOE-Headquarters. Mr. McCracken asked the Board to provide him with direction by April on which option it preferred.

Mr. Trammell requested that information from other sites who are being asked to follow the guidance be supplied to the Board so members could determine methods of getting work done under the new rules.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.



Mr. Revilla moved to approve the October 8, 2003, meeting minutes. The motion passed unanimously.


Mr. Mulvenon moved to adopt the FY 2004 Work Plan. Ms. Cothron seconded, with the amendment that her name be removed from the EM Committee and added to the Public Outreach Committee. The amended changes were approved unanimously by a voice vote, as was the primary motion.


Mr. Smith moved to postpone the issue of Dick Berry’s attendance until the December meeting. The motion passed with a 16-1 (Mr. Gibson) voice vote.

Action Items

1.          Mr. Skinner will relay to the board DOE-Headquarters comments on the Risk-Based End State Vision document.

2.          Mr. McCracken and Mr. Skinner will formulate public participation activities for the Draft Risk-Based End State document. Complete. Public comment period was announced in December DOE Public Involvement News

3.          Members will communicate to Mr. Osborne the form of communication each prefers. Completed 11/14/03. Survey is Attachment 6 of November 25, 2003, Executive Committee minutes

Respectfully submitted,

Luis Revilla, Secretary

Attachments (5) are available upon request from the SSAB support office.