2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: loc@icx.net
Date: 27 May 2003 18:13:23 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: RE: [CPEO-MEF] Secrecy lawsuit planned at Aberdeen Proving Ground
Stakeholders are having similar problems with the Department of Energy
in Oak Ridge.  We are trying to resolve conflicts between the need for
increased security and the public's right to know about cleanup of
hazardous and radioactive sites on the Oak Ridge Reservation.  For
example, I can't see any conceivable security enhancement by not
releasing maps of burial ground locations, all of which are "within the
fence" and hence physically well guarded (as well as being capped, thus
difficult to excavate for any dangerous materials).  Considering
numerous documents showing these sites have been distributed to the
public for years, redacting the maps for newly requested documents at
this point seems doubly absurd.

I think the major problem is a philosophy that all information has
security value, hence a knee-jerk reaction to surpress as much as
possible.  The agencies need to work with designated stakeholder
representatives to come to an agreement as to what can reasonably be
released vs. what should be considered confidential.  DOE allows known
stakeholders who sign a confidentiality statement to view "Official Use
Only" (OUO) information, but this doesn't address the problem of John Q.
Public wanting to find out about the environmental problems and the
status of their cleanup.  This is particularly problematic when the
document in questions was formerly publically released.  This year's
"Remediation Effectiveness Report" is a prime example.  

A further complication is that the state's DOE oversight division and
Region 4 EPA have determined that they cannot protect OUO information
and so won't keep any on their premises.  In my mind, this will make it
next to impossible for these agencies to properly do their jobs of
environmental oversight.
Susan L. Gawarecki, Ph.D., Executive Director
Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee
102 Robertsville Road, Suite B, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
Toll free 888-770-3073 ~ www.local-oversight.org

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