2010 Legislative Forum on Nuclear Waste Cleanup

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November 8-10, 2010
San Diego, California

Meeting Purpose

This meeting brought together legislators and tribal leaders from across the country who play a role in the clean-up of the nation's nuclear sites, host nuclear facilities, or are affected by the transportation of nuclear materials. Participants had the opportunity to learn about important nuclear waste management issues, gather updates from the U.S. Department of Energy, and share information with one another. NCSL Legislative Forum members also participated in the DOE’s Intergovernmental meeting with representatives from the State and Tribal Government Working Group (STGWG), the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA), the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices.

Participants

Chair

  • Representative John Heaton, New Mexico

Participating Legislators

  • Senator Ellen Anderson, MN
  • Senator Abbie Cornett, NE
  • Representative John A. Heaton, NM
  • Assemblymember William Horne, NV
  • Delegate Sally Young Jameson, MD
  • Representative Forrest Knox, KS
  • Senator Deb Simpson, ME
Participating NCSL Staff

  • Melissa Savage, Program Director
  • Scott Hendrick, Policy Associate
  • Linda Sikkema, Director

 

Meeting Summary

 

Monday, November 8, 2010: Joint Meeting of NCSL’s Environmental Management Legislative Roundtable and High-Level Waste Working Group

DOE Intergovernmental Office Update

Clyde Henderson, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs

Legislator Roundtable Discussion

Moderator: Representative John Heaton, New Mexico

Legislators discussed nuclear related news, events and legislation from their states. Updates heard from Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Tennessee and Washington.

Site-by-Site Cleanup Status

Ron Skinnarland, Washington State Department of Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program
Shelly Wilson, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Mr. Skinnarland and Ms. Wilson provided updates on current activities at the Hanford treatment facility and Savannah River Site.

Reassessing Land Withdrawal Act Restrictions for WIPP

Representative John Heaton, New Mexico

Representative Heaton discussed implications of changing current restrictions on the type of waste that can be disposed of at the WIPP site.

Joint Lunch Program with State and Tribal Government Working Group (STGWG) -- Tribal Tutorial on Treaties

Don Sampson, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Mr. Sampson provided background information on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation’s treaty, how the tribe uses it and how it relates to trust responsibility with the federal government and the Department of Energy.

Roundtable Discussion on EM Budget and ARRA Discussion

Melissa Savage, NCSL

Ms. Savage discussed the current EM budget, implications of the end of ARRA funding, and Department of Energy participation in NCSL meetings.

Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future

Delegate Sally Jameson, Maryland; Senator Deborah Simpson, Maine; and Representative John Heaton, New Mexico.

Delegate Jameson, Senator Simpson and Representative Heaton summarized their testimonies before the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and the Commission’s future planned activities.

NCSL Policy Discussion

Melissa Savage, NCSL and Scott Hendrick, NCSL

Ms. Savage and Mr. Hendrick provided an update on the renewal of NCSL's Federal Facilities Cleanup Policy and Radioactive Waste Management Policy at NCSL’s 2010 Legislative Summit. They also led a discussion of how to improve NCSL activities, products and programs.

Tuesday, November 9, and Wednesday, November 10, 2010: Intergovernmental Meeting with the U.S. Department of Energy

Participating Intergovernmental Groups:

  • National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
  • State and Tribal Government Working Group (STGWG)
  • Energy Communities Alliance (ECA)
  • Environmental Council of the States (ECOS)
  • National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG)
  • National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices

Intergovernmental Group Priorities and Comments and Review of Action Items from 2009 Intergovernmental Meeting

  • Seth Kirshenberg, ECA
  • David Borak and Kristen Ellis, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Accountability, DOE-EM

Overview of EM Policy and Progress for 2010

  • Dr. Inés Triay, Assistant Secretary, DOE Office of Environmental Management

Roundtable with Senior EM Officials and Speakers, Including Assistant Secretary Inés Triay

  • Speaker: Dr. Inés Triay, Assistant Secretary, DOE Office of Environmental Management
  • Panel discussion with Merle Sykes, Chief Budget Officer, DOE-EM; Frank Marcinowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technical and Regulatory Support, DOE-EM; Shirley Olinger, Associate Principal Deputy for Corporate Operations, DOE-EM; and John Eschenberg, Oak Ridge Office, DOE.

Update on Policies for Future Use of EM Sites

  • Mark Gilbertson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program & Site Support, DOE-EM

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future

  • Tim Frazier, DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Designated Federal Officer to the Blue Ribbon Commission

EM Planning and Budgets: “The End of an ARRA”

  • Merle Sykes, Chief Business Officer, DOE-EM
  • Colin Jones, Recovery Act Program, DOE-EM
  • Jack Craig, Director, Consolidated Business Center

DOE Waste Management Policy and Strategies

  • Speaker: Frank Marcinowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technical and Regulatory Support, DOE-EM
  • Panel discussion with Shelly Wilson, State of South Carolina; Dave Brockman, Office of River Protection; and Matt McCormick, Richland Operations Office.

Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration

  • Speaker: Frank Marcinowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technical and Regulatory Support, DOE-EM
  • Panel discussion with Amy Fitzgerald, City of Oak Ridge; Gabriel Bohnee, Nez Perce Tribe; and William Murphie, Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office.

Coordination & Decisionmaking with the National Nuclear Security Administration

  • Kenneth Powers, Associate Administrator for Infrastructure and Environment, National Nuclear Security Administration

Legacy Management: Coordination and Strategic Planning

  • David Geiser, Director, DOE Office of Legacy Management

The 2010 Elections – Implications for the Complex

  • Seth Kirshenberg, Energy Communities Alliance (ECA)

Intergovernmental Groups – Next Steps

  • Panel discussion with representatives from each intergovernmental group.