CARLSBAD, N.M. – The Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) and a task force with the National Governors Association (NGA) recently toured the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and discussed waste-related issues that impact cleanup sites across the DOE complex with EM officials.
State regulators gathered for the spring meeting of the NGA Federal Facilities Task Force (FFTF) received updates from Jay Mullis, acting associate principal deputy assistant secretary for regulatory and policy affairs.
“By continuing to strengthen our engagement with you, our regulators, and with a diverse set of stakeholders, EM can build on our record of results, deliver for communities and prepare for sustainable cleanup success,” said Mullis.
The meeting included panel discussions on a consent-based approach to siting spent nuclear fuel facilities, long-term waste disposition and DOE’s Justice40 Initiative.
The ECA held a peer exchange meeting in Carlsbad, the location of the Carlsbad Field Office, which operates WIPP. EM Chief of Staff Michael Nartker addressed the ECA members, who represent local governments near EM sites. He emphasized that EM’s partnerships with local governments help advance EM’s cleanup mission.
“EM’s most impactful accomplishments over the many years of our history have been realized when EM and our cleanup partners, such as yourselves, are in alignment on goals that are both effective and achievable,” Nartker said.
The ECA members also participated in panel discussions on the history and future of WIPP, waste storage and disposition, workforce development and collaborations with universities on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives.
EM’s Office of Intergovernmental & Stakeholder Programs has cooperative agreements with national, state, local and tribal organizations. The EM office also administers grants to those organizations, and works with them to host meetings for their members on a variety of EM-related issues. The next such meeting is for the National Conference of State Legislatures Nuclear Legislative Working Group on June 21-22 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The group will provide state legislators from across the country insight into the EM program’s cleanup efforts.
“Engagements like these with regulators, tribal nations, local officials and other stakeholders are the cornerstone of EM’s 30-plus-years commitment to public involvement,” said Joceline Nahigian, director of the EM Office of Intergovernmental & Stakeholder Programs.
The NGA Center for Best Practices established the FFTF in 1993 with support from EM to assist in the development of the initial Federal Facilities Compliance Act site treatment plans. The task force brings together governor-designated representatives from states affected by the ongoing cleanup of sites used in the production, testing and assembly of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.
Established in 1992, ECA is comprised of elected officials and administrators from local governments adjacent to or impacted by DOE activities. ECA's mission is to bring together local government officials in DOE-impacted communities to share information, establish policy positions and advocate community interests to effectively address an increasingly complex set of environmental, regulatory and economic development needs.
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