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“Best of all he loved the fall. The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams, and above the hills the high blue windless skies …Now he will be a part of them forever.”     

These are the words of Ernest Hemingway - pronounced at a funeral for a friend, but perhaps applicable even more so to himself.  And for a man who traversed the world over and could have chosen anywhere to spend his last days, they may apply in particular to the Wood River Valley. What does that have to do with the ICP CAB? Read on.

If you’re one of the few interested parties who consumes the information in this newsletter, you may already be aware that the ICP CAB is one of several “site-specific advisory boards” (SSABs) from waste-disposal sites around the country.  But you may not be aware that we will be hosting the chairs from each of those SSABs right here in Idaho this month. That’s right, citizen leadership from around the Environmental Management complex will be meeting in Sun Valley October 29th & 30th for the bi-annual EM SSAB Chairs Conference.

Our agenda includes a day-long tour of ICP activities and two days of meetings including a round-robin session with all CAB chairs sharing insights and stories from their locations, presentations from DOE officials on transportation planning, waste disposition, and budget, and a public comment period at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, October 30th.

Our Chair, Trilby McAffee, welcomes the opportunity to host other SSAB chairs and had this to say of her experiences at meetings like this one in other locations: “I have attended three SSAB meetings -- in New Mexico, Washington, DC, and Savannah River. The SSAB meetings allow members to share the numerous problems each site is facing, some similar and some very different from our own site. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was an especially educational experience and one that would benefit every CAB member. The National Cleanup Workshop last year and Savannah River earlier this year provided insights to the extremely complex issues all sites are facing. This one promises to be just as good.”

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the challenges we are facing with our cleanup efforts here in Idaho, but then you look at a place like Hanford, where 56 million gallons of radioactive waste remains untouched and threatening the nearby Columbia River - all of a sudden it puts it in a larger framework where you recognize that this is all part of a collective effort to protect not just our community or our country, but the entire planet.

All of this to say, if you have nothing better going on, make some time to join us and hear about these issues at the Sun Valley Inn at the end of October.  It’s not a bad place to visit in the fall, after all.