For Immediate Release
Contact: Pete Osborne, ORSSAB Support Office (865) 576-1590

Oak Ridge SSAB Extends Committee
Voting Rights to Encourage Public Participation

Oak Ridge, Tenn. - October 15, 2002 - Public participation in environmental cleanup decision-making took a big step forward recently when the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (SSAB) voted to allow members of the public to participate in its standing committees on a voting basis.

The SSAB is a federally chartered, independent, volunteer advisory board to the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup program.

To SSAB Chair, Dave Mosby, the move makes good sense for the advisory board and the public.

“The twenty members of the SSAB were appointed by DOE to represent the public,” he explains, “but we need to hear from other stakeholders about their views on the cleanup program. We have established an outreach program to get our message out to the public, but we also need to hear directly from them when we’re discussing cleanup issues at our meetings."

“By amending our bylaws to allow members of the public to vote on committee business,” Mosby says, “we’re hoping to foster a more inclusive atmosphere for participation at our standing committee meetings. We think it will be easier for people to feel more involved and contribute to the process if they have a say on the issues being discussed. Many of our best recommendations have emerged from consensus building among SSAB members and the public during committee meetings."

The SSAB’s three working committees focus on various aspects of the DOE cleanup program at the Oak Ridge Reservation. Environmental Restoration looks into cleanup decisions and specific remedial actions. Stewardship focuses on how the public and the environment will continue to be protected after cleanup is complete. Waste Management delves into treatment, storage, disposal, transportation, and policy issues related to DOE waste management activities.

The committees typically meet the third week of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the DOE Information Center, 475 Oak Ridge Turnpike. Stewardship meets on Tuesday, Waste Management on Wednesday and Environmental Restoration on Thursday.

For additional information about the committees and the Oak Ridge SSAB, call the SSAB office at (865) 576-1590, or visit the Board’s web site at www.oakridge.doe.gov/em/ssab. Information is also available on the Board’s 24-hour information line at (865) 576-4750.