WASHINGTON, D.C. – The EM Site-Specific Advisory Board (EMSSAB) Chairs held their semi-annual meeting via webinar recently, a move to curtail costs in a challenging fiscal climate.
An estimated 90 people participated in the virtual meeting, including the 16 Chairs and Vice Chairs, local EMSSAB board members, board staff, other agency officials and members of the public.
"These exchanges are extremely valuable to both DOE and the Chairs," EM Office of Intergovernmental and Community Activities Director Melissa Nielson said. "The Chairs enthusiastically plan these meetings and think carefully about what they want to convey about their sites, as well as information they want to receive directly from our leadership. I think the availability of the senior managers, such as EM Senior Advisor Dave Huizenga and our Deputy Assistant Secretaries, conveys the importance of the EMSSAB and stakeholder input, generally, to the agency."
Huizenga, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Planning and Budget Terry Tyborowski and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Waste Management Frank Marcinowski were the featured speakers in the webinar.
The EMSSAB is a citizen board comprising approximately 200 members from across the DOE complex that offers the Department input on cleanup related issues. The webinar and other semi-annual meetings provide an opportunity for EMSSAB Chairs and members of their local boards to receive presentations from EM managers and discuss cross-cutting issues that impact sites and local stakeholders throughout the EM complex.
Much of the Chairs’ discussion focused on budget and funding allocations for the sites’ EM mission work. Declining budgets was the greatest concern expressed by participants. The Chairs also discussed possible recommendations to the agency.
The EMSSAB was established in 1994 to involve stakeholders more directly in EM cleanup decisions. While only one Federal Advisory Committee Act-chartered EMSSAB exists, eight local boards under the EMSSAB umbrella charter have been organized at Hanford in Washington State, Idaho, Northern New Mexico, Nevada, Oak Ridge in Tennessee, Paducah in Kentucky, Portsmouth in Ohio and Savannah River in South Carolina. The Chairs of these local boards hold semi-annual public meetings throughout the EM complex that facilitate exchanges between members of the EMSSAB, DOE managers and interested organizations and citizens.