Brown Blasts Energy Department About Piketon Cleanup Announcement Without Community Input
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today wrote to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman regarding reports that the Department of Energy (DOE) is preparing to announce its long term plan for the cleanup of the old Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. DOE has yet to engage the community in the creation of the plan, even though it has done so at every other major cleanup site around the nation. However, reports have been circulating in industry press that DOE is on the verge of announcing its multi-billion dollar cleanup strategy. Some reports have included detailed analyses of a proposed three contract strategy being worked out by DOE.
"Frankly, I am confused as to how the Department could even develop such a cleanup strategy without engaging the community; the very people we both serve," Brown wrote.
Traditionally, a community advisory board is established by DOE that creates a mechanism for community leaders to have input into the cleanup. While the decision is ultimately DOE's, community advisory boards serve a vital role, working with the DOE on a number of important issues like which buildings are to be built, which are to be razed, what the future use of the site will be, how the DOE should carry out the cleanup, where important structures will be built or moved, and most importantly, working with the community to ensure that everyone has full knowledge of cleanup activities and a say in the future of the site.
Currently, no community advisory board exists for the Piketon site, nor have plans for a community advisory board been announced.
"No cleanup strategy should be contemplated until such a community advisory board has been created and is allowed meaningful input into the process. I am concerned that the Department is returning to the old announce and defend' policies of the past," Brown wrote.