Stakeholder Involvement at Federal Facilities
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The U.S. EPA encourages early and meaningful community involvement in the federal facility cleanup process. Community involvement in decision making ensures that communities neighboring federal facilities understand and have the opportunity to influence cleanup activities. This engagement can also speed cleanups, reduce costs, and increase cleanup effectiveness. EPA also collaborates with tribal associations, environmental and community groups, labor organizations, and universities to encourage the consideration of social, cultural, and economic factors in the federal facilities cleanup process.
Community involvement actively educates and meaningfully involves the public early in planning for and cleaning up federal sites. Partners in this cleanup process include community members, such as environmental justice communities and other federal state, tribal, and local governments involved in cleaning up federal facilities.
In October 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response hosted the Federal Facility Cleanup Dialogue. The purpose of the Dialogue was to provide an opportunity for an array of diverse stakeholders to discuss the progress, achievements, and challenges surrounding the cleanup of federally-owned contaminated sites. Dialogue objectives included fostering effective communication among stakeholders, discussing and prioritizing challenges of federal cleanups, and establishing potential next steps for addressing the future challenges of federal facility site cleanups. Meeting summary reports were prepared for the October 20 meeting, which focused on Department of Defense and Department of Energy sites (PDF) (40 pp, 960K), and for the October 21 meeting, which focused on Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture sites (PDF) (67 pp, 4.7MB).
In September 2011, EPA hosted a second Federal Facility Cleanup Dialogue meeting. This meeting was primarily focused on Long-Term Stewardship, including enhancements to the Five-Year Review process. Other topics discussed were information sharing, environmental justice, and community engagement. In addition to EPA, the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy and the Interior participated in the Dialogue. Stakeholders represented tribal, state, and local governments; citizen advisory boards; and non-governmental organizations. A meeting summary (PDF) (51 pp, 1.5MB) was prepared and distributed to participants.
Fostering Community Participation
One method of community involvement includes the Department of Defense (DoD) Restoration Advisory Boards (RABs) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Site-Specific Advisory Boards (SSABs), which offer local stakeholders the opportunity to participate in federal facilities cleanups in their community. Advisory boards are only one method, among many, that may be used to involve the community.
Technical Assistance to Communities
Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) is an EPA program that provides "independent, non-advocacy educational and technical assistance to communities affected by hazardous waste sites regulated by the RCRA and Superfund programs, including sites on federal facilities and tribal land."
Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs) provide money for activities that help communities participate in decision making at eligible Superfund sites. An initial grant of up to $50,000 is available to qualified community groups so they can contract with independent technical advisors to interpret and help the community understand technical information about their site.
Outreach and Training
National outreach efforts include the dissemination of information through newsletters, brochures, pamphlets, success stories, and fact sheets on a variety of federal facility cleanup issues, including community involvement, partnerships with stakeholders, and use of innovative technology. Additional information resources are available.