PHOENIX – The Department of Energy is committed to ensuring the continued success of the Office of Environmental Management cleanup program which is marking its 30 year anniversary this year, DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette told government and industry leaders at the 2019 Waste Management Symposia.
“From day one, Secretary Perry and I, and this Administration, have made the EM mission a key priority,” Brouillette told an audience of more than 1,000 participants at the international conference. “We take seriously our commitment to the people and communities that call EM sites home. We have a responsibility to complete the cleanup of this environmental legacy.
“Recognizing that the EM program constitutes one of the federal government’s largest liabilities, we also take seriously our commitment to the American taxpayer to complete cleanup in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner,” he said.
“To that end, we are reinvigorating the completion mindset that has been the foundation of EM’s greatest successes,” Brouillette said. “We are ensuring that the EM program has the resources necessary to maintain and build upon that track record of progress.
“And we are instituting management and regulatory reforms throughout the Department so that those resources, provided by Congress and the American taxpayer, are best utilized,” he said.
In its work so far, EM has reduced an initial cleanup inventory from 107 sites comprising 3,100 square miles, to 16 sites with an active footprint of less than 300 square miles, Brouillette pointed out.
And under the leadership of Assistant Secretary Anne White, the EM program is poised to further improve the trajectory of cleanup, he said.
“Anne and her team are taking lessons learned from our three decades of cleanup, and institutionalizing a completion-centric approach that protects our nation, continues progress and enables host states and communities to plan for a vibrant and growing future,” Brouillette said
“This approach touches every aspect of the EM program including overall planning and prioritization, regulatory reform, contracting strategies, project management, strengthening oversight, workforce development, collaborations and more.
“To ensure EM is best positioned for the long-term, we know that new and innovative ideas and approaches are necessary,” Brouillette said. This includes tapping into the ingenuity of the national laboratories, and nurturing young talent through a variety of STEM-focused DOE programs, internships and fellowships.
“We vitally need these new innovators and leaders to help us continue to push forward and complete the EM mission,” he said. “We all want to see a push toward the completion of our cleanup that leads to safer, cleaner sites, and growing, thriving communities.”