Many Voices Working for the Community
Summary of the FY 2011 Annual Meeting
Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board
Saturday, August 20, 2011, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Whitestone Country Inn, Kingston, Tenn.
The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its annual planning meeting to:
· Develop an increased understanding of and commitment to the goals of the board
· Agree on strategies for accomplishing the goals
· Enhance working relationships by getting to know each other better
· Evaluate the effectiveness and achievements of FY 2011
· Begin developing the FY 2012 work plan
The meeting was facilitated by Lori Isenberg of Northwest Dynamics, Inc. The agenda is Attachment 1.
Board members attending were:
Ed Juarez, Secretary
Ron Murphree, Chair
Others attending were:
Dave Adler, Department of Energy-Oak Ridge Office (DOE-ORO) ORSSAB liaison
Susan Cange, DOE-ORO Deputy Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM)
John Eschenberg, DOE-ORO ORSSAB Deputy Designated Federal Officer
Spencer Gross, ORSSAB Staff
Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO ORSSAB Federal Coordinator
Lori Isenberg, Northwest Dynamics
Connie Jones, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ORSSAB Liaison
Pete Osborne, ORSSAB Staff
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) ORSSAB Liaison
Ms. Isenberg began the meeting by reviewing the objectives for the day (noted above). She said the main objective was to determine what the goals are for the board in the coming fiscal year and agree on strategies to achieve the goals. She said some of the strategies may be delegated to the board’s committees.
Ms. Isenberg asked everyone sitting at the member table to introduce themselves and make comments about what they thought the goals and strategies for the board should be for the next fiscal year.
The Role of Board As It Relates to DOE
Mr. Eschenberg began his comments by saying the U.S. government has a national debt of $14.3 trillion. He said only about 30 percent of the U.S. budget is discretionary. He said there will be many cuts in discretionary spending in an attempt to lower the national debt.
As a result DOE could see a reduction in allocations from $28 billion to about $26 billion. Such a decrease will likely result in reductions in work force and support services and frozen salaries.
Mr. Eschenberg said the department will have to change its spending habits and there are already directions from department leadership to change spending patterns. He said DOE will shift priorities in anticipation of about 10 percent reduction in allocations.
Mr. Eschenberg said the Office of Science will see a reduced rate of priorities in science. He anticipates a big reduction in the energy efficiency/renewable energy program.
EM will continue to abide by its cleanup commitments, but at reduced budgets from $6 billion across the DOE complex to about $5.6 billion.
Mr. Eschenberg said there are three main areas of risk to Oak Ridge:
His challenge to the board was to think strategically about how to balance those risks.
He said the current budget is about $400 million for Oak Ridge cleanup. He asked the board not to get too involved with budget figures but to advocate for a more equitable distribution of the national EM budget, so that Oak Ridge receives about 8.5 percent. He noted that distribution of funds is currently not equitable as other sites have seen increases in funding, while Oak Ridge has seen regular decreases.
Mr. Hatcher asked Mr. Eschenberg what the driver was for the discrimination in budget allocations. Mr. Eschenberg thought politics was a primary reason. He said Washington State has a powerful senator. He also said previous administrations and DOE EM were focused on tank waste, but he thought newer leadership would be more amenable to the situation in Oak Ridge. To this point he thought Oak Ridge had not done an adequate job of telling its story and EM has been singularly focused on tank waste.
Mr. Eschenberg was asked if there was some segment of the community that hasn’t been engaged to help DOE-Oak Ridge secure equitable funding. He said DOE-Oak Ridge has done a reasonable job of engaging local and state leadership. He said the local business community needs to be involved.
Mr. Eschenberg said DOE Oak Ridge is the fourth largest employer in Tennessee. Small and mid-size businesses need to be leveraged to carry DOE’s message forward. DOE needs to engage business and get them involved to tell DOE’s story because government leaders tend to listen to businesses.
Mr. Martin said he didn’t think the board should move away from providing recommendations on specific topics. Mr. Eschenberg said he didn’t disagree with that, but he thought the board should include more strategic consideration in its work for FY 2012.
Mr. Valunas asked how much Oak Ridge would receive in cleanup allocations at 8.5 percent of the overall EM budget. Mr. Eschenberg that would put Oak Ridge’s allocation at about $500 million, which he said is enough to make steady progress in achieving cleanup goals.
Referencing Mr. Eschenberg’s encouragement for the board to think strategically, Mr. Stow said the board traditionally has dealt with specific issues and it needs be more creative and thinking beyond technical issues. Ms. Mei said the board needs to provide oversight on things that DOE is supposed to be doing and not provide so much technical input.
Mr. McKinney said he has participated on a number of boards over the years and the focus of those boards has shifted from technical issues to discussions related to budget and asset management.
Mr. Jensen asked if there was a way DOE could assist Oak Ridge and the State of Tennessee to help recruit companies that would have large employee bases. Mr. Eschenberg said the area has a number of organizations charged with recruiting business to the area but there is no coordination among those groups and no unity of message. Ms. Cange said DOE has a role in attracting business and works with other organizations, but there is much competition to attract employers. Mr. Eschenberg said part of the problem is the perception that Oak Ridge has extensive contamination.
Mr. Eschenberg briefly talked about organizational changes at both DOE headquarters and locally. At the national level DOE EM has been placed under the Office of Nuclear Security headed by Tom D’Agostino. Mr. Eschenberg said he expected more strategic changes at Headquarters in the next 16 months.
He also talked about organizational changes in Oak Ridge. The Oak Ridge managers of EM, Nuclear Fuel Services, and the Office of Science will report directly to Washington DC. The remainder of ORO deals with integrated support systems, which provides services to other DOE sites. Those services will still be managed by the Oak Ridge manager. That new organization was approved by headquarters on August 6.
Board Mission and Accomplishments
After Mr. Eschenberg’s presentation, Mr. Murphree went through board accomplishments for FY 2011. The main points are included in Attachment 2. He noted the board sent eight recommendations to DOE, increased its membership limit to 22 members, conducted a successful recruiting campaign for new members, established the EM Budget and Prioritization Committee, and sent members to several meetings and conferences.
Related to travel Ms. Cange said DOE is currently working on a presentation about Oak Ridge that will be presented at the next Waste Management Symposium in Phoenix.
Mr. Murphree concluded by saying he would like to get feedback from DOE Headquarters on how it views the effectiveness of the board.
Ms. Isenberg briefly discussed the results of the board member survey. The results are summarized in Attachment 3.
She asked for any observations about the survey. Mr. Hemelright said the board is apparently moving in the right direction. Ms. Isenberg agreed saying that the board doesn’t have any significant issues. She said perhaps committee structure might be ‘tweaked’ but didn’t elaborate.
Mr. Eschenberg said the board needs more public recognition of its work. There was more discussion about that during review of the Public Outreach Committee’s work topics.
Work Plan Topics
Mr. Adler reviewed suggested topics from DOE for the board to consider in FY 2012 and reviewed carryover topics from the standing committees.
Ms. C. Jones and Mr. Owsley reviewed suggested topics from EPA and TDEC. All of those items are included in Attachment 4.
As part of gathering information for topics to consider during the fiscal year, ORSSAB staff sends and collects responses from citizens through the Public Environment Survey. Mr. Osborne presented the results of the survey. Those results are in Attachment 5.
Strategies and Actions – Prioritization of Topics
After agency topics and committee carryovers were presented, staff distributed a table with all of the topics and columns for ranking each issue and which committee should consider the topic (Attachment 6).
Ms. Isenberg asked each committee chair to describe his or her committee’s purpose and discuss some of the issues and tasks it performs.
Ms. B. Jones said the primary functions of the committee are:
1. Publish Advocate newsletters, the FY 2011 annual report, news releases, and guest editorials
2. Distribute monthly meeting videos to cable access stations
3. Post notices on community calendars and contractor websites
4. Publish the Public Environmental Survey
5. Work on updates for the museum exhibit
6. Coordinate ORSSAB participation in outreach presentations, briefings, and special events
During discussion of public outreach, Mr. Eschenberg felt like the board should broaden its audience to extend beyond Oak Ridge. Mr. Juarez said the public needs a better understanding of cleanup and what the risks are.
Mr. Eschenberg said there needs to be more public education about the risks of mercury since it is one of the risk areas at Y-12 he mentioned earlier. He also repeated his comments about getting businesses involved through public outreach.
He suggested having ‘state of the site’ meetings and perhaps taking board meetings to other locations.
Mr. Valunas said public leadership should be targeted through newsletters and other means.
Mr. Martin said there should be a better venue for the public to attend meetings besides the DOE Information Center. Mr. Eschenberg said there were other facilities available for use such as Pollard Auditorium and the New Hope Center.
Mr. Valunas asked if the board had a ‘road show.’ Mr. Stow said that the board has made a number of presentations to area civic groups over the years. Mr. Osborne said about 170 presentations have been made.
Mr. Jensen said schools are good places to teach young people about the issues on the reservation and suggested making presentations at schools.
After discussion of the committee Ms. Isenberg asked who wished to serve on the committee in FY 2012.
The following members will serve on the committee:
· Ms. Hart
· Mr. Holmes
· Ms. B. Jones
· Mr. McKinney
· Ms. Owen
· Ms. Sakalla
Mr. Hatcher said the committee follows specific cleanup actions on the Oak Ridge Reservation. The primary topics of interest to the committee are:
Bear Creek Valley Response Actions
The Board recommended that DOE compile information for possible remedial actions to mitigate releases from the Bear Creek Burial Grounds site with the ultimate goal of achieving compliance with release limits for the site. A response to the recommendation is expected this fall.
Siting of a Second CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Restoration,
Compensation and Liability Act) Waste Disposal Facility
The Board recommended that DOE undertake early actions to involve the public in choosing a site for a second waste disposal facility.
Molten Salt Reactor Remaining Salts
The Board recommended that DOE begin an effort to find a path or paths to disposal of the salt and find the time limits under which those paths will be available.
Tank W-1A Removal and Liquid Low-Level Waste Pipelines Northern
The committee is following the progress of the removal of Tank W-1A from the Central Campus of ORNL. The Board recommended that low-level waste pipelines in the Northern Characterization area be excavated when exposed and to make sure appropriate actions are taken to minimize the potential for release of contaminants during cleanup of the soils and out-of-service lines north of Tank W-1A. (Mr. Adler indicated no further input from the board is needed as all decisions regarding removal of Tank W-1A have been made)
The committee has drafted a recommendation on the U-233 Project that will be presented to the board on September 14. Main points include:
· Dissolving of U-233 should be done in a geometrically safe manner
· Supplemental funding for the project should be provided in addition to the normal Oak Ridge Environmental Management budget.
· DOE should hold a summit meeting on the removal of U-233 from ORNL. Attendees should include the people who can make decisions regarding future uses of U-233, downblending, safety, and physical security.
Study of Groundwater Movement
The committee has asked for a technical advisor to study groundwater movement on the Oak Ridge Reservation.
Transuranic Waste Processing Center
The committee is following the progress of preparing transuranic wastes for shipment and anticipating the return of the Central Characterization Project to certify waste for shipment.
During discussion of EM, Ms. Cange said that DOE Headquarters had contracted with the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP) to develop a model to help form a basis for discussion with agencies to prioritize projects. She said that model should be forthcoming from CRESP. The model could possibly be used complex-wide.
Mr. Eschenberg said CRESP should make a presentation to the board and the board should have input on the model.
Members who will serve on the EM Committee in 2012 are:
· Mr. Bell
· Mr. Hatcher
· Mr. Jensen
· Mr. Martin
· Ms. Mei
· Ms. Owen
· Mr. Roberts
· Ms. Sakalla
Mr. Stow said the committee is interested in the long-term protection of areas that have contamination remediated in place and how to provide information to future generations about contaminated areas, as well as areas without contamination.
The primary areas of interest for the committee currently are:
Continue review of development of the DOE-Oak Ridge geographic
information system (GIS)
The committee has been given the opportunity to review and offer input on the development of the GIS.
Review the Annual Remediation Effectiveness Report (RER)
Each year the committee is given the opportunity to review and offer comments on the RER.
Long-term Stewardship Verification Process
The committee has written a first draft of a recommendation to automate the information gathering process for the RER. The committee would like to receive updates on the progress of automating the process if the recommendation is approved by the board and accepted by DOE.
Stewardship Map Reference Sheets
the committee will continue to follow the development of the reference sheets to go in a book to accompany the Stewardship Map.
Fact Sheet to Establish a Site Transition Process Upon Completion of
Remediation at Ongoing Mission Sites
The committee will follow the progress of the development of a fact sheet by DOE EM that will outline the process of transitioning a remediated site from EM to its original landlords at ongoing mission sites
During discussion of stewardship, Mr. Eschenberg said a stewardship implementation plan for Zone 1 at ETTP could be a topic for the committee to provide input.
Mr. Valunas said stewardship has a public outreach component to provide information to agencies regarding the relative safety of areas on the reservation.
Mr. Eschenberg said the committee should stay engaged on the efforts to change the National Priorities List boundaries, which would free up about 24 square miles of the reservation as a valuable asset for future use.
Members who will serve on the committee in FY 2012 are:
· Mr. Hemelright
· Ms. B. Jones
· Mr. McKinney
· Mr. Murphree
· Mr. Stow
Board Finance & Process
Mr. Juarez said the committee manages the expenses incurred by the board and works on any changes to the board’s bylaws and operating procedures. The committee primary functions are:
1. Review monthly expenditures and travel funding
2. Review the ORSSAB budget allocation from DOE, recommend distribution of funding among expense categories, and recommend allocation of any carryover
3. Develop the ORSSAB budget request
4. Review the President’s EM budget
5. Plan the annual retreat
6. Review the ORSSAB Bylaws and Operating Instructions and generate amendments as necessary
7. Review the ORSSAB membership roster to determine when the next members will be leaving the board and assess impacts
During discussion of the commitee and the board member survey (Attachment 3), Mr. Eschenberg said some thought should be given to making the survey more useful. He said survey results should be reviewed and some recommendation made to improve it and how to address problem areas. He thought a comment box would be useful on the survey.
Members who will serve on the committee in 2012 are:
· Mr. Hemelright
· Mr. Juarez
· Mr. Martin
· Mr. Paulus
· Mr. Valunas
Selection of Topics to Consider in FY 2012
After reviewing all of the suggested topics from the agencies and the carryovers, the board focused on several areas to pursue during FY 2012 at the board and committee level. It was suggested that staff use Microsoft Outlook meeting notification to remind members of committee meetings.
Public Outreach Committee
Nominations for FY 2012 Board Officers
Mr. Martin, representing the Nominating Committee, reported that the committee had nominated Ms. Owen as the candidate for board chair in FY 2012, Mr. Juarez as vice chair, and Mr. Jensen as secretary.
Officers for FY 2012 will be elected at the September board meeting. Nominations for officers will be taken from the floor at the meeting.
Mr. Eschenberg said two current members had been denied reappointment and one prospective member was denied appointment to the board by DOE Headquarters because of perceived conflicts of interest. He felt like the argument to deny membership was a narrow interpretation of the conflict of interest guidelines. He said in Oak Ridge it’s difficult to find qualified people who don’t have some connection to DOE or its contractors.
Mr. Murphree said he likely would write a letter to EM Headquarters expressing disappointment that the people in question were not appointed and asking them to reconsider the reasons for not appointing them.
Ms. Isenberg asked for comments from the group about what went well during the meeting and what didn’t go so well.
Positives of the meeting included:
· Discussion of topics for the committees
· Member participation, especially by new members
· Meeting materials and presentations
· Agenda and meeting process
· Facilitation, organization of meeting, food
· Socialization among members
· Difficult for some members to hear discussion
· Timing of the meeting (should not have been the first meeting for new members)
· Socialization time should available after the meeting
Mr. Murphree said he knew the dynamics of this meeting would be different because of so many new members. He said previous meetings had gone into more detail on specific issues and this meeting focused more on the overall picture of cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation.
Ms. Halsey said the next time everyone will be together will be for the September 14 board meeting. She said pertinent materials from this meeting will be available at the subsequent committee meetings to help in developing committee work plans for FY 2012.
Mr. Murphree, Mr. Eschenberg, and Ms. Halsey thanked everyone for their time and participation in the annual meeting and for volunteering to serve on the board.
1. Staff will use Microsoft Outlook to remind members of committee meetings.
Attachments (6) to this summary are available through the ORSSAB support office.