Sunday, January 16, 2000

DOE saluted for listening

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HARRISON — After decades of secrecy and years spent sparring with activists, the Department of Energy's Ohio Field Office was rewarded Saturday for being accountable to the public.

        It received the International Association for Public Participation's organization of the year award during a Fernald Citizens Advisory Board meeting at the Plantation banquet hall.

        The field office oversees projects throughout the state, including cleanup of the former Fernald uranium-processing plant in Crosby Township.

        “(DOE) is doing the smart thing ... and the right thing,” said former CAB chairman John Applegate, who made the award nomination. Open discussions represent a big DOE policy shift from just a few years ago.

        “It took years (for us) to lay a foundation of trust by constantly being there. Before that, it was, "We're secret. We make bombs. Go away,'” said Ken Morgan, DOE's Ohio public affairs director.

        These days, DOE listens to recommendations made by CAB, Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health and others. There are monthly public briefings, and open hearings on major decisions.


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