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Statement from DOE Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management James Rispoli on the National Academy of Public Administration's Management Review of DOE's Office of Environmental Management

December 18, 2007 - 4:58pm


"Today the National Academy of Public Administration released their comprehensive management review of the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (EM).  EM is a $5.6 billion per year program responsible for the risk reduction and cleanup of the environmental legacy of the Nation's nuclear weapons program, one of the largest, most diverse, and technically complex environmental programs in the world.

Over the past 19 months, more than 600 federal and contractor employees and stakeholders including myself have interacted with NAPA's Panel and staff as they reviewed EM's management organization and the policies and procedures that support the program.  The NAPA review identified a number of program enhancements, which coupled with EM's ongoing management initiatives will enable EM to continue momentum toward becoming a higher performing organization.  The study reflects our continued focus on recruiting and retaining a highly competent workforce in a progressive organization with clear lines of authority and accountability; managing projects in the most efficient and effective manner; strengthening our acquisition process; and promoting safety as the top priority in all that we do.

During my time as the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Environmental Management, we have made great strides in achieving cleanup results.  This fall, DOE transferred nearly 4,000 acres of its former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production site to the Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for use as a National Wildlife Refuge.  Additionally the Rocky Flats Cleanup Team received the 2007 Service to America Medal for Science and Environment for completing the first successful cleanup of a former nuclear weapons facility 60 years ahead of schedule and $30 billion under budget.  Also this year, DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico celebrated its 6000th shipment safely received and reached the milestone for disposal of over 50,000 cubic meters of waste.  And, this fall, DOE's Closure Project at Fernald, a 900 acre former uranium processing facility located in southwest Ohio, was named the 2007 Project of the Year by the Project Management Institute.  This is the second year in a row an EM cleanup project has received this prestigious award; Rocky Flats was recognized in 2006.

Moving forward, we are committed to promoting a skilled and diverse workforce, sound project management, and effective acquisitions to meet our long-term cleanup commitments.  We are working to utilize the best tools and metrics to ensure successful project performance and promote a robust training agenda for our management and staff.  We greatly appreciate the work of the National Academy of Public Administration and will use their study as a guide to drive continuous improvements."

Media contact(s):

Megan Barnett, (202) 586-4940