1995 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@igc.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 09:14:35 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
I submitted the following comments to the Defense Environmental Security
Office on CAREER/PRO letterhead. Just so misunderstandings don't develop later,
I want to make sure that everyone recognizes that we (CAREER/PRO) intend to
submit a letter of intent to bid on option B. Our current hope is to build
a national consortium with similar institutions in other regions.


July 6, 1995

Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for
Environmental Security/Cleanup
3400 Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-3400

Dear Mmes.:

As someone who has worked for several years to increase and 
improve the role of community stakeholders in the oversight of 
military installation restoration, I would like to compliment the 
Defense Department on the proposed rule on "Technical Assistance for 
Public Participation" (40 CFR Part 52, as published in the Federal 
Register, May 24, 1995).

I continue to hear, from the neighbors and employees of military 
installations all over the country, the need for the types of services 
described in the rule. Though I have sought and received feedback 
from a large number of members of Restoration Advisory Boards, as 
well as others, my comments only represent my personal opinions and 
CAREER/PRO, the San Francisco State University project that I 

Before addressing the specific proposals, I want to highlight three 

1) The provider(s) of technical assistance must be independent, 
and be perceived of as independent, not only from the Department of 
Defense, but from state and Federal regulatory agencies.

2) Since needs vary significantly from facility to facility, the 
program must be flexible - offering a range of services.

3) To serve public stakeholders and win the respect of 
government agencies, service providers must be technically and 
administratively competent.

I favor a combination of the options for providing assistance that are 
described in the proposed rule. To the extent that its is possible to 
allocate resources in advance, up to two thirds of the funds available 
to support this program should support Option C. With the exception 
of locations where EPA Technical Assistance Grants are already in 
place, the remainder of the money should support Option B.

Foremost, community RAB members seek the assistance of technical 
consultants that they can selected and direct. OPTION C appears best 
designed to meet this need, but it has two shortcomings. First, the 
$25,000 purchase order may not be large enough to acquire the 
services of a competent technical assistance team - that is, a group of 
cooperating specialists. I assume the $25,000 limit has been proposed 
to limit administrative work, but it might also hamper the assistance as 

Second, most RABs lack the capacity to institute such a program. That 
is, they don't have the organization, experience, or time to properly 
advertise for and evaluate technical consultants, particularly because 
they must comply with complex, unfamiliar Federal procurement 
regulations. These are precisely the types of obstacles that make it 
difficult for many otherwise qualifying groups to obtain EPA TAGs.

While the RABs' agency sponsors could provide such assistance, 
many RABs would feel that it would undermine their independence, 
and given the installations' reliance on engineering service contractors, 
it would probably not be cost-effective.

Consequently, I believe that OPTION C would work best in 
conjunction with OPTION B. The Technical Assistance Provider(s) 
would lead each RAB through the administrative thicket of seeking, 
hiring, and overseeing the local Technical Consultant. This would not 
only strengthen program accountability and uniformity of procedures, 
it would free the RAB members and the host installation to focus on 
substantive issues of cleanup.

The proposed qualifications for the OPTION B technical assistance 
provider are good, but they could be improved.

1) I would add the term "independent" to "neutral and credible." 
Community representatives need someone to turn to when they aren't 
sure if they should believe the military or regulators.

2) I would de-emphasize the role of facilitation and mediation. 
These services appear to be available locally.

3) Ideally, the services would be provided by a national 
consortium of regional institutions. There is a need for national 
coverage and networking, but regional institutions are better placed to 
understand local needs. It also saves on travel money when key 
personnel and/or RAB members travel shorter distances for training.

4) Some of the organizations that have been offering this type of 
service are publicly owned universities, such as San Francisco State 
University. Please clarify that "not-for-profit" includes state academic 

OPTION B can complement OPTION A by providing a number of 
national or regional services, such as:

1) On-call technical assistance for RABs a) in the early stages of 
development; b) needing quick answers, or c) preferring not to hire a 

2) Administrative support for RABs that wish to hire technical 
consultants directly.

3) Training workshops for RAB members.

4) Services, such an Internet link and a national clearinghouse of 
RAB documents - such as sample mission statements or by-laws - to 
promote the sharing of experiences and ideas among the various 

5) For RABs that are just forming, organizational assistance. 
Please note that the legislation says that funds may be made available 
to "assist such members and affected citizens to participate more 
effectively..." Many new RABs waste valuable time and energy re-
inventing procedures. While it would be inappropriate for the agencies 
to establish detailed procedural rules on a national scale, a technical 
assistance provider could help new RABs draw upon the successes of 
existing ones.

In providing these services, the technical assistance providers could 
increase public confidence in the process and relieve base 
environmental officials and contractors of what are, in some cases, 
unwanted tasks.

Translation of technical documents into foreign languages, as well as 
into non-technical English, could be done either by OPTION B 
technical providers or OPTION C purchase order recipients.

Finally, although OPTION A is least desirable, I don't think existing 
EPA TAG recipients should lose their support. Unless there is cause, 
OPTION A should be used to provide continuation funding for 
existing TAG recipients. Given the administrative difficulties that both 
EPA and TAG recipients have with the program, I don't believe 
OPTION A would provide new grantees faster service than the other 
options. I don't know of any TOSC centers that have established 
working relationships with RABs or other community oversight 
boards at defense facilities. 


Lenny Siegel

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