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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program Appendix E Workshop Transcript NOTE: This document is only a portion of the entire transcript of the Workshop to Review Risk Management of DOE's Environmental Remediation Program held on November 3 and 4, 1993 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. A table of contents of the entire document is enclosed. The remainder of the transcript is enclosed as a document file in both Wordperfect and ASCII forms on the enclosed diskette. It is important to note that because this is a transcript, there may be slight errors in the text of individual's statements due to transcription difficulties. Therefore, please verify all statements with the authors prior to quoting them in any other written material. A videotape of this workshop is available for purchase by calling 1-800-292-7051.
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program WORKSHOP TO REVIEW RISK MANAGEMENT IN DOE'S ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION PROGRAM PROCEEDINGS TABLE OF CONTENTS Day 1: Wednesday, November 3, 1993 Welcome Frank Parker, Chairman, National Research Council Committee to Review Risk Management in DOE's Environmental Remediation Program Philip Smith, Executive Officer, National Research Council Thomas Grumbly, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Restoration and Remediation, Department of Energy Day 2: Thursday, November 4, 1993 Welcome Philip Smith, Executive Officer, National Research Council 16 Frank Parker, Chairman, National Research Council, Committee to Review Risk Management in DOE's Environmental Remediation Program 17 Clyde Frank, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Restoration and Remediation, Department of Energy 19
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program Panel 1: DOE Site Activity Description Norman Boyter, Vice President, Solid Waste and Environmental Restoration Westinghouse - Savannah River 21 Robert Benedetti, Assistant Manager, Environmental Restoration, EG&G, Rocky Flats 24 Jim Honeyman, Manager, Strategic Planning, Westinghouse-Hanford 30 Panel 2: Stakeholder Perspectives Marshall Drummond, Chair, Hanford Tank Waste Task Force and President, Eastern Washington University 35 Joe King, City Manager--Richland, Washington 39 Mildred McClain, Citizens for Environmental Justice 43 Merv Tano, General Counsel, Council of Energy Resource Tribes 45 John Moran, Director-Safety & Health, Laborers' Health and Safety Fund 49 Elizabeth Averill, Oil Chemical Atomic Workers Union 50 Panel 3: Regulatory Perspectives Randy Smith, Director, Hazardous Waste Division, Environmental Protection Agency-Region X 53 Mary Riveland, Director, Department of Ecology, Washington State 57
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program Mark Bashor, Associate Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 61 Lance Nielsen, Remediation Branch Chief, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality 66 Roundtable Discussion: Committee, Workshop Participants, and Speakers Welcome: Frank Parker, Chairman 72 Overview: Victoria Tschinkel, Roundtable Moderator 72 Question 1: Can scientific information on environmental and health risks assist those setting priorities for remediation activities to reduce the risks to the public, workers, and environment? 73 Question 2: Can scientific information on environmental and health risks assist in ensuring that funds are so distributed as to reduce health and environmental risks at different sites in an equitable manner? 82 Question 3: Does DOE have sufficient data on site characterization, health effects, and exposure to develop scientific information on environmental and health risks? 89 Question 4: Does the scientific information onenvironmental and health risks permit DOE to improve and extend the application of risk assessment as a decision-making tool in setting remediation priorities? 96 Question 5: Can public participation in the
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program development of DOE's risk assessment guidelines improve the credibility and value of risk assessment? If so, how can the public most effectively participate in the development of these guidelines and their eventual application at sites? 103 Question 6: Are there institutional, regulatory,statutory, or other impediments to the use of scientific information on environmental and health risks in managing the risks associated with remediation? 112 Additional Questions and Issues 116 Closing: Victoria Tschinkel, Roundtable Moderator Frank Parker, Chairman 123
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program PROCEEDINGS Agenda Item: Welcome - Frank Parker DR. PARKER: I am Frank Parker. I am Chairman of this committee, the Workshop to Review Risk Management in the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program. I would like to welcome all of you here as members of the committee, as participants and as members of the audience. We look forward to a very fruitful day and a half of discussions today and tomorrow and another excruciating day and a half for the committee to try to ream a report out of those discussions. We are committed to having a draft of a report by the time we leave here on Saturday. As the dimensions of the clean-up problem at the Department of Energy sites become clearer and the monetary pressures become greater, the regulatory agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the implementing agency, the Department of Energy are seeking ways to improve the process so that the most egregious problems are remediated first and in a cost effective manner. EPA has recently issued a draft report which some of you may have seen on the radioactive site clean-up regulations and it is wrestling between four different methods of sending these regulations, one of which is risk based and therefore, this is really a very opportune time to assess the role of risk management in the Department of Energy program. As all we know, the Department of Energy has some fixed obligations under the Federal Facility Act Agreements and the Secretary has endorsed the keystone report recommendations that in the event of monetary shortfalls, that the funds will be shared proportionally. These obligations and the risk-based one if such should occur obviously do not result in the same distribution of funds, nor equal reductions of risk nor equal marginal costs of reduction of risk, all of which have their advocates. The National Research Council -- and its role will be explained
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program later by the next speaker -- has long had an interest in risk assessment and management. It was in the great hall just outside this auditorium that Bill Ruckleshaus in his first tour as EPA administrator delivered his famous talk on risk, science and democracy and made the distinction between the objective scientific risk assessment and the more subjective politically, economically, and philosophically drive risk management. While there is still some sentiment for this prohibition of these overtly subjective considerations from entering into risk assessment, I think it has become increasingly clear that the philosophical views of the risk assessment panelists color their views. Since Ruckleshaus's talk, there have been a number of reports by the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council on risk assessment, management and communication that have influenced our understanding and perception of risk. The tasks for these next few days will be difficult, to eliminate the intricacies and limitations of risk aided decision making during the workshop and then to reach consensus on the feasibility and desirability of the approach during the committee deliberations. Fortunately, we have a very knowledgeable committee, speakers and audience which will make our task easier. However, our philosophical differences over even the definition of risk, the endpoints to be used and the considerations of religious, social and political cost effectiveness impacts make the costs difficult. To be sure that these divergent views are heard and reflected in the report, the National Research Council has sought broad representation on the committee, among the speakers and among the panelists. I mentioned earlier that we will have a report or a draft of a report before we leave here. This fast track approach by the Academy contrasts sharply with the usual two to three year duration of generating a report. This makes it necessary for all of us to be explicit, focused and succinct in our remarks as I have been I hope. And in our questions and deliberations. I welcome your cooperation in this manner and I hope that we will all go to the task with open minds and with clear insight. In
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program finishing my remarks, I would now like to introduce the Executive Officer of the National Research Council, Dr. Philip Smith. Agenda Item: Welcome - Philip Smith DR. SMITH: Thank you, Frank, very much. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Many of you are familiar with the work of the National Research Council. Some of you are not. The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering and our relationship as an institution to the government is unique among academies around the world. We were expressly set up in our charter from Congress in 1863 to be an advisor to the government on questions of scientific and technical character and objective scientific advisor. We do this by way of the National Research Council which engages many scientists and engineers, public officials, former public officials, health policy officials, beyond the memberships of the two academies. Customarily, the way we work is the way we are working in response to the requests we go that will be explained by Assistant Secretary Grumbly. A government official will come to us with a request to undertake a project to study. We will assemble a panel. We will examine the panel from the standpoint of its breadth, expertise, objectivity, prospective conflicts of interest and bias. We undertake our work partly in public, partly we are able to have private deliberative executive discussions because we are a non-governmental agency and we then before our recommendations are delivered to a government agency, we have an independent, internal review of the work of this panel by a second group of several reviewers who provide quality assurance and it is only after these various steps have taken place that we will, in effect, put the imprimatur of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council on our report and take it and release it to the public, release it to the Congress, take it to the officials of the Executive Branch. And it was this kind of request that we received this summer,
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program late this summer from Secretary Grumbly who specifically wanted us to take the first steps that we are taking today, tomorrow, Saturday and in the work we will do over the next month to assess whether a risk-based approach to evaluating consequences of alternative actions in environmental remediation is a feasible and desirable course. A very important second step we were asked to consider is this: how can the public participate more effectively, and how can the credibility of the department's risk management of waste be improved. Those are both very important questions. Many of you have been involved, as have I, over a great part of a public policy career in issues of this kind and you know that we have steadily made advances in our scientific understanding of some of these questions and we also know very much more about the ways government and the public must work together in terms of honest communication about risk and what the risk choices might be. So this is our charge. We will have in the workshop here today participants today and tomorrow from the disciplines of science. We will have public officials, former public officials, there will be Native Americans present, people from affected communities that are in the areas where the weapons complex facilities are located, environmental groups, some of the Energy Department's contractors, representative of labor unions who understandably have concerns about health risk. In taking this job as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Restoration and Waste Management, the President and Secretary O'Leary could not have selected anyone in my own view better qualified than Tom Grumbly. He has a life of experience working in these areas over a 20 or so year period. I first met Tom when he came to Washington in the 1970s to take up a position as the staff director of the Oversight Committee of the House Space, Science and Technology Committee. He then took up a position for a period of time in the Department of Agriculture as a Deputy Administrator of Food, Safety and Inspection Service. He served then in a private sector capacity as the Director of the Health Effects Research Institute, an institute
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program established by EPA and the three automotive companies to look at health effects questions. And more recently, he has been the director and he came to this position in government from the position of being President and CEO of Clean Sites, a non-profit organization, a company that is dedicated to solving hazardous waste problems. So he will give us in effect collectively, our committee and all of us today this afternoon, our charge, and I welcome now Tom Grumbly, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy. (Applause) Agenda Item: Thomas Grumbly MR. GRUMBLY: Thank you very much, Phil. Thank you very much for the kind introduction. Thank you all for being here this afternoon. I really am delighted to be here to kick off this workshop aimed at reviewing the Department of Energy's risk management efforts in the environmental restoration and waste management program. I am here to ask for all of your advice and assistance in developing, over the next two years, a credible risk assessment and risk evaluation program which will support the department's environmental management mission. I want to share with you this afternoon some of my own ideas on how we should proceed and I would like your input on those ideas very quickly and I was obviously delighted to hear the kind of timetable that Dr. Parker and Dr. Smith laid down. I should have asked that Frankie Laine join us this afternoon so we could sing the theme song from the old TV series, Rawhide, because we really do need to head 'em up and move 'em out on this issue. Let me talk a little bit about the program, give you a little bit about my thoughts about why we need to undertake this effort, talk a little bit about what I would like to get out of it, and leave you with a sense of how strongly we support the work you are about to do.
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program I have been on this job for about five months now and in that time I have established my own six program priorities and my senior managers have established performance measures so we can gauge our progress against those priorities. We are also working on a number of initiatives in line with Vice President Gore's reinventing government effort. All of our efforts are really aimed at getting results, in three major areas, in three themes that I would like to leave with you. First, we obviously are most dedicated to the protection of the public 's health, safety and environment. Secondly, we need to take advantage of the really tremendous opportunity that this program has and that the Department of Energy has to become technological leaders in the world of environmental restoration. And third, we need to establish ourselves as outstanding stewards of the public's resources. I hope it will become clear to you from my remarks this afternoon that I think that viable, credible risk evaluation is the key to success in all three of these areas. Since 1989, the environmental management program at DOE has operated in a dramatically changing public environment. Ideas that would have seemed foolish and really beyond the pale when this program started in 1989 are now reality. Back in 1989, there was still a Soviet Union. The Department of Energy was still making nuclear weapons and the first revelations about the scope and cost of four decades of really sorry neglect were just beginning to take shape. This department faced, as it does now, a great deal of skepticism from the public. Now, just four years later, we are operating in an environment in which the environmental management program in energy is not only the biggest program in the Department of Energy, consuming about 35 percent of the total resources of the department, it is the single largest environmental program in the world and in 1995 and beyond, it will continue to be an increasing percentage of the resources in the entire Department of Energy. But we face undiminished skepticism. We have grown, of course, but everybody is saying now what have we done about capital T-H-E, capital P-R-O-B-L-E-M, about THE PROBLEM.
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program We must move beyond recognizing that there is a job to be done, even while we continue to try to sort out the magnitude of all the problems we face. It is time to focus on implementing a program to get this job done, done as right as we possibly can, done right the first time if we can possibly do it according to the best contemporary standards of science and engineering and done as efficiently and as economically as possible. Good risk management which cannot happen without good risk assessment and evaluation, is critical to our program's success. As I mentioned a minute ago, there are several priorities that I have set against which our program's progress is being measured and one of those is that we have to control the immediate risks in our system, emphasizing worker health and safety as well as public health and environmental protection and obviously good risk assessment is vital to this priority, the priority of worker safety and actually I think it is vital to all of our priorities. Our workers and the citizens who live near our sites deserve to know what they and we are up against. Let me review a little bit about how we got here. As Dr. Parker indicated, you may remember that Bill Ruckleshaus addressed this group on the subject of risk assessment. What have we learned in the ensuing ten years since Bill was here? Shortly after he spoke to you, the famous red book which was considered the Risk Assessment Bible was published and then in 1987 the EPA published Unfinished Business which concluded that there may be many problems out there and we need to do something about it in the way of risk assessment. And then the EPA Science Advisory Board at the request of Bill Riley published Reducing Risk which told us in five volumes that the data to conduct meaningful risk assessment in the environment really were not yet available. But even though the upshot of that publication was that risk could not be accurately assessed in their entirely, common sense, which, according to the late Senator Rayburn, Sam Rayburn, is all the sense a person needs, led to the view that hazardous waste sites were not the biggest environmental and public health risks out there.
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program I am prepared to accept that assessment as long as we have the data to demonstrate it. But while EPA was giving risk assessment the good old college try over the past 10 years, those of us who are outside government spent our time complaining that EPA was not doing enough about risks, that DOE was not thinking hard enough about the assumptions that were in risk assessment. But unfortunately nobody, and I really emphasize this, nobody either inside or outside of the government were making the kind of significant investments that are actually needed to define what the risks are on a site by site basis so that we can all decide what it is we are trying to do. And so in the hope that late is better than never, starting right here and now, we need to move forward into at least a two year effort to try to fix the problem of evaluating the risks at the DOE Defense sites. What have we learned about this hazardous waste problem? In the 15 years since Love Canal and four years into the biggest environmental program ever, we still really do not have a good idea of what the risks are. We need to do something about that now. We have got to have a way to systematically review and find the risks at DOE sites and other hazardous waste sites. Perhaps the most important thing we have learned is who does the risk assessments really matters. The risk assessments that have been produced to date by DOE and its labs and its contractors and I think some of that has been valid work, were produced by the same people who were perceived as having caused the problems. I think it is fair to say that DOE could not sell its own credibility if it were listed as a blue chip stock on the New York Stock Exchange today. However, there have been some valid attempts made so we need to take a look at those and essentially see how we can build on all the work that has been done already if that is appropriate. In past attempts to define a methodology, many questions have been debated that include what is the maximum dose, who is exposed, what is the individual exposure, who is the maximally exposed individual, and we have got to figure out whether those are the
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program most important questions to answer. Should risk be defined only by a set of numbers or are there other qualitative values that need to be factored in? Indeed, is risk really even the right word that we want to deal with or should we also be making use of more of the word of threats. It is a risk after all to get in the car and drive around the Beltway at rush hour but I would say that having that truck jackknife 100 feet in front of us on the Beltway in the middle of a snowstorm would be a threat and I think out in the real world there is a real distinction that needs to be made between how we are using the language of risk and how we are using the words of threats. I think we have got other issues that are important to keep in mind as well. We obviously do need some meaningful, quantitative data, but we need to remember who our customers are, the public, and not get lost in debates over numbers that keep us from seeing the forest for the trees. Secondly, we need to balance the concerns of the public health community which is very concerned about the results of and threats from past events and their consequences and the risk assessment community which tends to focus more on current and possible future problems. For example, at Hanford, Washington, the public health community is still very concerned about what potentially happened in the past and what are the likely consequences the people who are best called “downwinders ” at the moment when, in fact, the risks at the site, from people who are looking at risks now may be quite different and somehow we need to find a way to blend the views of how the public health community would view this and how the risk assessment community would view it. I think thirdly we need to remember that there are more than just technical problems to consider in risk assessment. We have to address hard institutional and political problems as well. I said a minute ago and I say again now that who does the risk assessment matters. And I ask you to keep that in mind because I want your feedback on my ideas on this issue which I will share with you in just a few moments. Let me try to lay out again for those of you who are uninitiated
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program in the energy department's problems why we at DOE I think need to undertake a major effort at risk evaluation and risk assessment. First of all, all of us, people in the Federal Government, state and federal regulators and the public, need an understandable way to define the risks so that we can move in an orderly fashion to control or eliminate the biggest risks. We need to find out whether the framework of compliance agreements, and we have 92 compliance agreements that were signed with great vigor over the last four years, we need to find out whether those framework of compliance agreements, other parts of the government and the private sector have signed up to bear a close enough relationship to what the problems actually are. We have to feel comfortable over the long term that our resources are being assigned to the real risks and to the real threats that are out there. When I currently enter into negotiations for new compliance agreements, we are faced with a variety of environmental laws and regulations as everyone knows and while we believe that an awful lot of those laws and regulations are perfectly reasonable and responsible, occasionally review the agreements as do many people in the industrial community, from the other side and say, well, we are not really sure that the actions we are being signed up to do really are justified by the risks they are intended to remediate. The risks are low and perhaps you are asking us to do too much. But right now I cannot put any evidence on the table about what the risks really are. We mostly have anecdotal information about this. We need to develop the kind of information base on a major site by major site basis that will in fact give us the ability to negotiate effectively with our colleagues in the state and federal regulatory agencies. As I mentioned before, worker health and safety is also a top priority of ours and we need to remember that our workers often have the greatest exposure to chemicals and to radioactivity at our sites on a daily basis. Now, dealing with risks means we will be better equipped to communicate those risks to the public, state and
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program federal regulators and to other stakeholders that are involved with this. Now, why are we here today? One of the things that we are now doing, in part because we are being commanded to do it by the United States Congress but it is something we really wanted to do anyway, is to undertake a new effort beginning with this workshop. This workshop I hope will begin the DOE's effort with the necessary, credible, scientifically based risk assessment program to define on a major site by major site basis in a meaningful way the major long term product and health and environmental risks at our site and we need to do this in concert with our stakeholders, in concert with the public health community and in concert with all of you. Why we need to do this is not just to protect public health safety and the environment but also to protect and to use wisely the public tax dollars that we have been interested to manage. In the last four years, the Congress has appropriate nearly $19 billion to this program and we have spent about $12 billion. On a year to year basis, we now have between two and three percent of the controllable dollars in the entire federal budget. But the problem is that we have not seen anything yet. We are still at the bottom end of the cost curve. From now until 1997 we will still be in the knee of that curve that, if unchecked, could take us from roughly the $6 billion a year that we spend today to in excess of $10 billion a year by the end of the century. The fact is that by next year, fiscal year 1995, and accelerating out until the end of the century, the discrepancy between how much money we have or are likely to have and what our regulatory requirements are, will grow extreme and increasingly larger so we are faced with a major problem in which the budget caps that have been passed by the Congress and in January we will see whether everybody believes that President Clinton was a piker on the budget, the difference between the budget caps that have been enacted and what we are actually signed up to do at the moment, is somewhere between $3 billion and $5 billion per year out in the 2000 time frame and so we have got to have a very good under-
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program standing of what our risks are so that we can at the very least evaluate how we are doing against these compliance agreements and if, in fact, most if not all of our efforts are devoted towards real risks and real threats, to be able to make the strongest case possible that regardless of whether we like this investment or not the fact is that we need to make it as a society. Our solution definitely cannot be to just ask one of our contractors to produce estimates that we think are right but that nobody else in the world believes. Over the next two years, we are prepared to spend several tens of millions of dollars so that we can undertake a science-based effort drawing out not only on the best paper studies that are around but also investing money in actually doing the kind of exposure assessment and the kind of sampling that is necessary to establish that the data can be credible in this area. So we are not simply talking about another paper risk assessment or set of paper risk evaluations. We are talking about having the capability to actually identify the gaps at major sites and going out and doing some of the kind of exposure analysis and the kind of sampling that all of us have so often wanted to do in this area. We need to begin an effort now to collect new data and break new ground and we need to fully involve citizens at all appropriate institutions in this nation and this process. I think we are going to have to establish new institutional mechanisms because the government entities with the money, the Department of Energy, do not have the credibility to actually conduct the work. We need, I think, a unique institutional framework that is credible, that is not owned by us, that is able to relate to the stakeholders, that is able to act in a timely manner and again we need to think about the time frame between now and when these major costs are likely to come on us in 1997 and hence we sort of need some major action in the next two years that can integrate knowledge during these next two years and this is not just because it is needed and a good idea but it is also driven by Congressional directive. The Congress in its 1994 appropriations bill which was just passed and just signed by the President, directs us to prepare at
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program least a first order evaluation of the risks at our sites by June of 1994, excuse me, June of 1995 and that is obviously going to be an ambitious place to be. Let me give you a little about the institutional concept that I have. There are some copies of this particular institutional concept in the back of the room and I would ask you to consider this as we go through it. I do not know if you can see this. I really envision a unique set of institutional mechanisms and again I am not, I think, I am agnostic about how this comes out but it seems to me that one needs to have a concept going into this. First, we would have a very small set of staffers actually in the prison that we call the Forrestal Building. There would be a central integration institution and there are a couple of options, several options I think for doing that. A university consortium, a public interest organization or organizations, established laboratories, other nationally known organizations that could essentially serve as the integrator for all the work that needs to be done. You see the big dollar signs there. We want to be sure that people understood there were big dollar signs going to that institution. Resources would come from the DOE headquarters level risk group. As I said, that would just be a three or four person risk group. They would provide oversight to the extent that they would make sure that the dollars get to where they are supposed to go and from there, site by site analysis would be executed by institutions near the sites or having functional expertise. We also obviously envision appointing a blue ribbon panel at either the local or national level depending upon what it is that you recommend, comprised of recognized experts and credible people with local groups advising us. So we see the states involved in this process, a blue ribbon panel overseeing it, citizens involved, academic groups and it seems to me that if you think about the central core as the center of a big multi-center study and you think about other academic groups potentially as offshoots, and workers involved as well, I think you get a sense of the kind of people that we need to have involved in
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program order to produce the kind of credible, useable risk evaluation and risk assessment data that we need to have at this site. But let me emphasize again. I am open to anything. Institutionally, methodologically, I am open to anything except doing nothing. The point is to pull the resources away from the Department of Energy to people in the society who do have the credibility to do the job and we recognize that credibility means giving up control and being willing to live with the consequences of what independent information provides. Now, some of the questions that we need to keep asking ourselves during this effort are, are we doing what the public wants us to do. The only way to find out is to lay on the table what the problems are and let the public review the information and guide us. This effort will be a failure if it simply produces another set of information that the public and the stakeholders that we have to deal with will simply reject as somehow a manifestation of trying to get out of our responsibilities. We obviously do need at the same time to have some idea of what the cost benefit ratio is and what the absolute benefits of our investments are. We need to ask the question of whether we should, how fast we should discuss with the Congress and the states, how fast we should move on the risks that we do identify. We all agree that risks need to be remediated but if they are not pressing to the community or to the public health, should they be pushed back until more cost effective technology is available or should we put our money down now? From all of this I think you can say that I am not talking about a traditional by the book set of risk assessments derived simply from calculations that others have already made. We know that the data base is lacking in terms of past and present exposures. We also have not factored into the dialogue discussions on future land use decisions and we need to do so. Now, how we put that all together are some questions that I think you and your committees need to deal with. I have given you some of my ideas but I do not have, as Mrs. Clinton said recently, any pride of ownership. We are very open
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program to your suggestions on methodology and approach and we also potentially see a continuing role for the Academy but I must know from you how you would like to be involved and what level you would like to be involved in as we go through this project. Now that I have shared my ideas with you, what do I expect to gain from this workshop? I need to get your views quickly, by the first of the year at the outside, and I was glad to hear Dr. Parker talking about having a preliminary report even this weekend. We are going to be recruiting right away a leader from inside the DOE or potentially recruiting from the outside for the proposed oversight group that I demonstrated earlier. We have to identify an institution or a contractor by the end of this year and have the system up and running. By next March, I think I have to have incorporated the proposed institutions in the field and if you propose an alternate approach to the one that I have shown on my chart, I intend to put the highest priority on having your approach implemented by March of 1994. Regardless of the structure, we ultimately have to implement a credible set of risk assessments and it is my goal to have the first draft assessments in one year with a preliminary report to Congress by June of 1995 and this will be followed by inclusion of the report in DOE's fiscal year 1997 budget package which will go to the Congress in January of 1996. I expect to have results presented in the FY98 budget package, the year the costs are expected to hit the system. So in order to plan for the big hump, what is a huge hump in the system at the moment, we really need to have on the table a credible set of evaluations in time for the fiscal year 98 budget package. As I have already stated, I am totally open to different concepts and a revision of what I have presented. We must have assessments that are acceptable to the scientific and public health communities and the affected public. That is the only thing we can accept. We cannot accept anything less than that. Anything else is up for grabs and we need to start now and finish before we incur the really major costs to society from this program.
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program In conclusion, now that I have told you all that I believe we can and we need to do, I want to caution you on some pitfalls that we can get into. We must be careful lest we wreck something for trying to do too much. When we discuss comparative risks that the public can relate to such as sky diving or driving around the Beltway or flying in airplanes, we must recognize that each of these is a very different kind and magnitude of risk. The public, I think, does not really want us to waste their tax dollars trying to convince them that things that they think are problems are not really problems. We must have truly realistic, meaningful comparative risks if that is an approach that we are going to take as part of this and if we can work with the public to determine what the risks really are, we will avoid discrediting our efforts through meaningless comparisons. This risk assessment effort needs creativity and judgment and the application of all the lessons that we have learned over the last 15 years of trying to work on risks. If we do this right, this is another place where we can turn a massive problem in this society into a real opportunity. Regardless of where we come out on this, we are going to be spending huge dollars on a limited set of facilities. If we can do something meaningful at these relatively few sites, we will have, I think, success, a real world laboratory for innovation and our success can advance the process dialogue with the community for other sites and for other environmental issues in this nation. By 1997 we must have a stronger basis for knowing how to apply our resources so that we can seriously and successfully debate how we want to approach all of these issues. The current battle plan is to lay out all of the problems and try to attack them en masse but in as orderly a fashion as possible. If we can't establish a good risk-based approach, we could be forced back into a default position in which we simply have to do everything that we have signed up to do or worse, maybe our approach will be dictated simply by available resources, that is, the Congress will simply appropriate a particular amount of money and the whole
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Building Consensus Through Risk Assessment and Management of the Department of Energy's Environmental Remediation Program thing will be budget driven rather than plan driven. I hope not because I really think the kind of risk-based approaches we have been talking about here this afternoon so far is really the way to go. I would like to close finally with a quote from that famous modern author, Pericles, that I think is right on the mark. We Athenians take our decisions on policy or submit them for proper discussion for we do not think there is an incompatibility between words and deeds. The worst thing is to rush into action before the consequences have been properly debated. This is another point where we differ from other people. We are capable at the same time of taking risks and of estimating them beforehand. Others are brave out of ignorance and when they stop to think, they begin to fear but the man who can be most truly accounted to be brave is he who best knows the meaning of what is sweet in life and what is terrible and then goes out to meet what is to come. So, my fellow Athenians, I thank you for letting me join you today and I look forward to working with you in this important two year effort. Thank you very much.
Representative terms from entire chapter: