2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 19 Nov 2003 18:19:47 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] GFPR at APG Article
Will Performance-Based Environmental Remediation Contracting Result in
Poor Environmental Remediation?
By Theodore J Henry
November 17, 2003

The Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) has
working with APG, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region III, and
Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) for nine years, representing
and businesses from Harford, Baltimore, Cecil and Kent Counties, as well
as Baltimore
City. Many past and current RAB members put in years of volunteer time
before the
RAB was established in 1995. We still have groundwater contamination
public drinking water supplies and discharging into the Chesapeake Bay
and its
tributaries. We still have unexploded ordnance posing explosive and
chemical risks to
boaters and other users of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. We
still have sites
where characterization is far from complete. Yet, we have made
significant progress
over the years and have established working relationships with APG and
the regulators
through hard work and perseverance. We have developed a process that
works, but the
U.S. Army is planning drastic changes for how APG and many other sites
across the
country conduct environmental cleanup.

The U.S. Army Environmental Center (AEC) is spearheading the
implementation of
Guaranteed Fixed Price Remediation (GFPR) at APG. The GFPR initiative is
implemented at Army sites through their Performance-Based Environmental
Contracting program. GFPR consists of awarding one large contract, or
possibly a few
smaller ones, to a single contractor to achieve Remedy in Place (RIP) or
Complete (RC) for all environmental sites included in the contract. The
contractor will be
responsible for conducting the cleanup and obtaining all necessary
insurance. The
installation will retain one environmental program manager (possibly two
at APG) to act
as the Contracting Officer Representative (COR) to oversee the work and
milestones are being met. AEC intends to convert APG’s Installation
Program to GFPR by the end of this fiscal year.

For several reasons the RAB does not believe GFPR will provide any
to the costs and timeliness of APG’s restoration efforts. More
importantly, we believe it
is likely that it will result in less protection for human health and
the environment. This
not only places the local communities at unnecessary risk, but also
makes future use of
the installation for APG missions more difficult, which impacts
Maryland’s economy and
the total number of jobs APG will provide to the surrounding counties.

The Financial Drivers behind GFPR

Our overarching concern is that GFPR is the product of Department of
Defense and
U.S. Army Business Initiative Councils, established, according to AEC,
to “improve
efficiency of business opportunities by identifying and implementing
business reform
actions,” as indicated on AEC’s web site. Our RAB is very concerned that
GFPR was
conceived wholly with business goals in mind, with no consideration for
the impacts to
the site characterization, regulatory oversight and community
involvement. The cleanup
of APG must be driven by protection of human health and the environment
and future
use, not by business initiatives originating from the Pentagon. A
financially driven
cleanup for complex sites like APG will almost certainly upset the
delicate balance that
exists between the contractor, APG, EPA, MDE and the surrounding
communities as we
work through site characterization, the assessment of risk, feasibility
studies, Records of
Decision (ROD) and remedy design and implementation. This is not an easy
process at
APG given its eight decades of contamination – APG is undoubtedly one of
the most
complex and contaminated military installations in the country. And,
only those who
know little about APG’s cleanup history would underestimate the critical
role the
established balance of stakeholder perspectives and participation has
played in making
APG’s cleanup efforts something of which to be proud.

Given the importance of, and the potential impacts GFPR will have on,
the working
relationship between diverse military, regulatory and community
stakeholders, we need
to evaluate the true drivers for implementing GFPR. One potential
explanation is that the
DOD believes the GFPR will save money in the long run. However, the RAB
this unlikely given the complexity and extent of APG contamination,
challenges in
coordinating environmental cleanup with ongoing APG range activities,
and considering
that APG already uses fixed price contracting. The simple truth is that
new potential
contaminants of concern, areas with contamination greater than
previously expected,
and/or new sites requiring investigation arise annually at military
sites with complex
contamination. How will the GFPR process account for, and still save
money in, such

One of our community members stated our concerns clearly in a recent

As a retired industry employee, I have seen these types of contracts go
to lowest
bidders who displaced contractors who had provided years of service and
knew how
much it costs to meet the needs of the site. It doesn't take long for a
new contractor
to realize he didn't fully understand the full scope of the contract and
either comes
back to ask for more money or starts cutting corners. Neither of these
is acceptable.

Much more weight has to be given to contractors who have proven their
competency at
APG rather than just putting the contract out to the lowest bidder based
on a written
scope of work that may or may not be 100% complete. Efforts to
understand the GFPR
approach to date have not uncovered any evidence that this issue has
been considered.

Another potential explanation for using GFPR is the potential benefit
that letting a
single large contract will have on DOD’s backlog of contaminated
properties. It has been
reported that once the GFPR contract is signed, APG’s sites will be
designated as RIP/RC
and that these sites can be removed from the Army’s database, even
though another
decade or more lies ahead in the actual field characterization and
remediation. If true, this
misrepresentation of site completion to Congress and the public will not
only impact
future funding at APG, but also other sites within Maryland and across
the nation.
Approximately 72 sites are listed on a 21 October Department of Army
listing installations targeted by the Performance-Based Remediation
Contracting program
in Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005. We have asked our congressional
representatives in both
houses to look at this critical issue, since the adequacy by which DOD
reports its
environmental liabilities to Congress has been a long-standing community

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