May 1, 2008
Arleen Kreusch, Outreach Program Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1776 Niagara St., Buffalo, NY 14207
Dear Ms. Kreusch:
I am writing to express my opposition to the Defense Department's attempt to replace the existing, legitimately constituted Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW) site RAB (Restoration Advisory Board) with a new RAB led by the Army Corps of Engineers' Buffalo District commander. The NYS Attorney General has described this proposal as misguided and illegal. It clearly runs counter to trust-building, sound public policy.
According to the Corps' press release, recommendations for the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS), an Energy Department (DoE) owned "FUSRAP" site, are to be included in the scope of the proposed new LOOW RAB. I am firmly opposed to this.
As you know, I participated in the original Energy Department public review process for the NFSS in the early 1980s, properly a NEPA EIS for such a major federal action. I remain a stakeholder in that process and its continuation under the Army Corps as a result of unwise Congressional action in 1997 and subsequent FYs. I submitted written comments calling for the vitrification of the K-65 residues as the only environmentally sound, long-term management option. This recommendation was later supported by the published findings (1995) of the NAS/NRC panel convened by Rep. John LaFalce.
Sadly, the NEPA review process conducted by DoE for NFSS in the 1980s was fraudulent. A Record of Decision was issued in 1986, but only after major "interim actions" had been completed: slurrying of the K-65 residues from the silo, retrieving other residues and wastes, and construction of an "interim" tumulus. These actions violated the fundamental purpose and intent of NEPA because they made implementation of the only sound, long-term management approach (as partially embodied in the subsequent NAS/NRC recommendation) much more costly and difficult.
I refer you to ROLE's 1994 letter to then Secretary Hazel O'Leary (http://nuclear.bfn.org/8-24role.htm) for a more thorough discussion of the improprieties of DoE's public review process for the NFSS. Per that letter, the proper course of action for public review at the NFSS is to reopen the NEPA EIS process and, this time, conduct it in a legitimate fashion. The fact that Congress unwisely continues, in its annual Water and Energy Development appropriations, to task the Corps to perform deficient FUSRAP site cleanups under CERCLA does not remove the ultimate responsibility of DoE to properly address its liabilities at the NFSS under the legitimate, AEA-authorized regulatory regime.
Rep. Louise Slaughter
James A. Rispoli, DoE Assistant Secretary