April 15, 2012

Stephen H. Bales, District Commander
USACE, Buffalo District
1776 Niagara St.
Buffalo, NY 14207

Subject: Input request - reassessment of interest to form an
official RAB for the DoD LOOW Site, April 2012

Dear Commander Bales:

I have been a stakeholder at the NFSS since 1984 when I submitted written comments on the DOE's EIS for the NFSS. My position remains as it was four years ago; please refer to my May 1, 2008 letter to Outreach Specialist Arleen Kreusch.

My early experience with USACE's unofficial and inappropriately named "LOOW CAC," which commenced operation late last summer, simply reinforces that position.

At the "LOOW CAC's" first workshop last fall, residential use was identified as a likely future use at the site by at least one participant, however facilitator Sarno failed to reflect this essential public input in his meeting output. The relationship between alternative future use scenarios and the differing extent of cleanup necessary to allow each use had not been made clear. Such obvious misrepresentation suggests manipulation to achieve a pre-determined outcome.

USACE engaged Mr. Sarno's consultant company in a front-loaded multi-year, multi-million dollar contract as the facilitator of this unofficial "LOOW CAC" group to provide cover for the public participation requirements under CERCLA for USACE's final waste disposition decision at the DOE-owned NFSS. (Of course, any MED wastes which remain at the NFSS following USACE's CERCLA decision will be a long-term liability of the DOE; again, see my May 1, 2008 letter comments re DOE's sham NEPA EIS review and improper "interim actions" in the 1980s.)

You state that the DOE-owned NFSS FUSRAP Site is not eligible for an official USACE RAB (at the bottom of the cover, not in the body of your input request letter). Yet, former Commander Hurley's April 1, 2008 News Release requesting input stated the opposite, apparently disingenously, coming as it did two years after USACE's 2006 'retroactive' legal guidance on RABs:

"The purpose of a DoD RAB is to create a forum for exchanging information between the community and the Corps regarding its environmental restoration projects for the site under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites [i.e., the LOOW Site] and the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program [i.e., the NFSS]." [emphasis added]

USACE seems happy to benefit from the public's conflation of the two sites and from public misimpressions regarding the role and status of its recently formed "LOOW CAC" led by Mr. Sarno and defectors from the USACE-disenfranchised, official LOOW RAB. Capitalizing on this public confusion, perhaps USACE is trying to maneuver its "LOOW CAC" into a role as replacement official RAB at the 'site'. This would pile onto the 2006 dishonorable conduct. To its credit, the community's LOOW RAB dutifully continues its work at both sites as a legitimate community interest stakeholder group.

Early federal agency management of the radioactive wastes at these sites can only be described as reckless. For the past 25+ years the applicable Atomic Energy Act long-term storage regulations for these wastes, at 10 CFR 40 Appendix A since 1985, have been willfully ignored by these agencies with full knowledge that the NFSS IWCS fundamentally fails to satisfy the long-term waste isolation purpose of these regulations. A 1995 NAS/NRC expert panel stated that the residues are equivalent in hazard to high-level waste and in July 2009 EPA told USACE that the equivalent of the HLW regulations at 10 CFR 191 are the applicable disposal standards for these materials.


James Rauch

Rep. Louise Slaughter
Tim Henderson