Acting Assistant Secretary William “Ike” White
Acting Assistant Secretary William “Ike” White

EM’s success in its new cleanup era is dependent on constructive relationships with regulators and stakeholders, Acting EM Assistant Secretary William “Ike” White told members of the National Governors Association Federal Facilities Task Force (NGA FFTF) last week.

White made remarks as part of two recent virtual meetings in which EM leadership shared insights on EM cleanup activities with national intergovernmental organizations.

Comprised of governor-appointed designees from 12 states, the NGA FFTF has been tasked with collaborating, regulating, and working with DOE to ensure the Department is accounting for state perspectives in its defense nuclear waste cleanup activities.

During the June 21 meeting, White provided updates about EM cleanup activities, the future of EM work, and how Biden Administration priorities impact cleanup plans. EM Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Todd Shrader discussed EM’s budget prioritization process and how states can continue to engage in the federal budget process.

Todd Shrader Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Todd Shrader

A day later, Shrader and Nicole Nelson-Jean, EM Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations, met virtually with the State and Tribal Government Working Group (STGWG) to hear its priorities and provide updates on EM actions and its overall strategy going forward.

STGWG brings together representatives from states and tribes. The working group is focused on three priorities: long-term stewardship, natural resource damage assessment and restoration, and tribal issues related to the cleanup and closure of DOE sites. STGWG provides a forum for communication among states and tribes affected by EM sites and activities.

Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Nicole Nelson-Jean

Shrader emphasized that cleanup remains the top priority and shared other Biden Administration priorities, including environmental justice and the promotion of contractor and workforce diversity.

Shrader noted that “engaging meaningfully” is the broader intention of the Biden Administration. He added that virtual meetings will help enable community participation across several states.

Nelson-Jean discussed other EM focuses, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and the workforce of the future.