2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: ted@theodorejhenry.com
Date: 30 Oct 2002 16:24:26 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: RE: [CPEO-MEF] RAB questions

I am not a lawyer and will not try to discuss what was implied or
intended by the person who told you that a RAB can only "legally"
discuss sites listed on the base's Installation Action Plan. It is the
great thing about law, there is always several interpretations!

One thing is for certain, if the topics of a RAB are being selected by
what is "legal" the RAB and the community outreach program at that site
is already, more likely than not, failing or dysfunctional.

The spirit of the RAB is based on giving the military entity, and the
regulators for that matter, a solid cross section of community members
to inform, learn from, bounce off ideas and approaches, provide draft
documents for review, etc.  In turn, the issues the community RAB
believe to be important are the very discussions that military site
should want to have, if they are using the RAB mechanism appropriately. 

Certainly, many RABs have more issues of concern than what they can
cover in a given year.  In light of this, sometimes agendas must be
developed based on what the majority of the community RAB members want
to cover in a given month or quarter. However, even if a topic is only a
concern to one or two community RAB members it should be given some time
at some point. It must be remembered that the RAB is not a formal
advisory body and that each person's individual views should be heard,
which is an inherent part DOD's own justification for why RABs do not
fall under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

Let us go back to the criterion "only those listed on the base's
installation plan." 

What about wells placed off post to track contamination? More likely
than not, the adjacent neighborhood would not be in the Installation
Action Plan.  If such proactive inclusion in an Action Plan exists, I
would like to know about it.

What about a site on an installation where the original projected site
boundary was too small and the investigation expands to an adjacent area
where no activity was previously known or suspected?  Does this mean the
RAB cannot discuss it until the Action Plan is updated?  This would be
an administrative hurdle and destructive to the working relationship.

What about a site like APG that had to conduct its Reference Sampling
Program off-post because there is too much contamination on post? Does
this mean our RAB could never discuss the reference sampling plan even
though it was conducted by the Installation Restoration Program? The
answer is clearly No.

New contamination and unexpected sites of contamination surface all the
time at FUDS, BRAC and Active sites. Restricting discussion to those
subjects already known or predicted is simply unrealistic - for this
reason and base on my experience with RABs from several different
perspectives over the last 7+ years, I believe that "interpretation" you
were provided goes against the spirit of the RAB process, against the
intent of FFERDC and will only lead to a less cost-effective and
meaningful program. 

Sometimes in the execution of a project, the legal interpretation
perspective on how a process should proceed is 180 degrees opposite of
how a positive, healthy community outreach program needs to function.
This is an inherent challenge to the cleanup process and will continue
to be for quite sometime.  If this statement was made with regard to
your site, I would try to have a small group discussion with the RAB and
project leadership to better understand the interpreted limitations of
the program, the environmental and participatory needs of the RAB and
how other sites have made it work.  Maybe some initial common ground on
the issue can be found and a better path for moving forward can be

-----Original Message-----
From: info@cswab.com [mailto:info@cswab.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 8:08 AM
To: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] RAB questions

I've been told that Restoration Advisory Boards can only "legally"
discuss sites listed on the base's Installation Action Plan.

Are RABs in other communities commenting on things like cleanup of
contaminated buildings, pipelines, spills not covered under RCRA or
CERCLA, PCB cleanups, asbestos removal, etc. (ie, cleanup projects that
are not necessarily listed as an IRP cleanup)?

Does anyone know if there is specific language that either prohibits or
provides for the discussion of specific cleanup topics by a RAB?

Please post your reply.
Thank you!

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
E12629 Weigands Bay S
Merrimac, WI 53561
phone (608)643-3124
fax (608)643-0005
Email: info@cswab.com
Website: http://www.cswab.com

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