DOE, state share restoration and compensation plans for environmental impacts, ask for public input

(DOE/TDEC) The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Tennessee have entered into an Agreement in Principle related to natural resource damages on the DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation. Together, they and the other members of the trustee council are releasing a document that shares restoration and compensation plans, which is available for a 45-day public comment period from August 15 – September 28.

To address impacts from past operations on the Oak Ridge Reservation, DOE conducts environmental cleanup projects to eliminate and reduce risks to human health and the environment. However, these efforts do not always fully restore injured natural resources or address their lost uses by the public. Through the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process, evaluations are completed to identify the extent of resource injuries, the best methods for restoring those resources, and the type and amount of restoration required.

Under the recent agreement, DOE and the State of Tennessee will establish a $42 million account for the Oak Ridge Reservation that will fund projects that will restore and protect natural resources and enhance the local environment. Full details about the natural resource damages and how DOE will compensate for ecological and human use impacts are available in the draft document titled, “Oak Ridge Reservation Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Restoration and Compensation Determination Plan/Environmental Assessment”.

The trustee council, comprised of representatives from DOE, State of Tennessee, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Tennessee Valley Authority, is responsible for evaluating how natural resources were injured and developing a restoration program to compensate for those injuries.

The council is hosting a public meeting to provide information and answer questions about the Restoration and Compensation Determination Plan and Environmental Assessment on August 31 from 6-8 p.m. at TownePlace Suites Oak Ridge, located at 300 S Rutgers Ave, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

The public may submit written comments to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Office of the General Counsel, Attention: Natural Resource Trustee Program, Tennessee Tower, 2nd Floor, 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave., Nashville, TN 37243. Comments may also be sent via email to ORRrestoration@tn.gov.

Copies of the document are available from the DOE Information Center. It is accessible online at doeic.science.energy.gov/ or in person from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Building 1916-T1, 1 Science Gov Way, Oak Ridge, TN 37831.

DOE has previously signed agreements and provided compensation for specific impacted areas. This latest agreement addresses all remaining historical natural resource damages for the entire Oak Ridge Reservation.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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