The Department of Energy should use the money levied from missed waste cleanup milestones to benefit those same cleanup missions, according to a recommendation drafted by a board that monitors cleanup missions at the Savannah River Site and other DOE sites.
The SRS Citizens Advisory Board, or CAB, will discuss the issue and possibly put it to a vote during its two-day, bimonthly meeting next week.
The CAB is one of eight advisory boards under the larger Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, or EMSSAB, which also makes recommendations to the Energy Department.
Though the local CAB usually votes on it owns recommendations, the waste cleanup recommendation is coming from the larger board because of projected missed deadlines across the DOE complex that would break agreements.
The recommendation states that instead of paying multimillion dollar penalties, the Energy Department should consider Supplemental Environmental Projects “as a beneficial and amenable means to help accomplish the legally mandated cleanup goals at DOE facilities.”
A Supplemental Environmental Project is defined as an environmentally beneficial project which a violator voluntarily agrees to undertake in settlement of an enforcement action but which is not legally required by law.
If the CAB approves the recommendation during its meeting, the results will then be passed up to the larger board.
Local examples of missed deadlines include construction of the SRS Salt Waste Processing Facility, which was supposed to be constructed by Oct. 31.
The Department of Energy is currently in talks with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, to renegotiate deadlines and timetables. The state agency has vowed not to attempt to levy penalties until Dec. 18.
In addition, waste cleanup and tank closures at SRS are scheduled to begin missing deadlines after the renegotiated scheduled closure of Tank 12, which is slated to be closed by May, 31 2016.
Other recommendations, scheduled presentations and updates are also on the CAB meeting agenda.
The meeting will be held Monday to Tuesday at the New Ellenton Community Center, 212 Pine Hill Ave. in New Ellenton. Day 1 of the meeting will start at 1 to 5:30 p.m.; day 2 will begin at 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Derrek Asberry is the SRS beat reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the paper since June 2013.
He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.