SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10824]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IIRESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION
TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
MARCH 4, 11, 25, 31, AND APRIL 1, 2004
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
JEFF MILLER, Florida
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
Thomas Hawley, Professional Staff Member
Jean Reed, Professional Staff Member
Uyen Dinh, Professional Staff Member
William Natter, Professional Staff Member
Curtis Flood, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
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Thursday, April 1, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActDestruction of U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile-Program and Status
Thursday, April 1, 2004
THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDESTRUCTION OF U.S. CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILE-PROGRAM AND STATUS
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Meehan, Hon. Martin T., a Representative from Massachusetts, Ranking Member, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
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Klein, Dr. Dale E., Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs; Hon. Claude M. Bolton, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology); Pat Wakefield, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Chemical Demilitarization); Michael A. Parker, Director, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency; Craig Conklin, Chief, Nuclear and Chemical Hazards Branch Preparedness Division, Department of Homeland Security; Dr. Patrick J. Meehan, Deputy Director for Program, National Center for Environmental Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and Raymond J. Decker, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, General Accounting Office
Bolton, Hon. Claude M., Jr.
Klein, Dr. Dale E.
Meehan, Dr. Patrick J.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSaxton, Hon. Jim
Smith, Hon. Adam
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDESTRUCTION OF U.S. CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILE-PROGRAM AND STATUS
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Thursday, April 1, 2004.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m., in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
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Mr. SAXTON. Good morning, everyone. Today, the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee meets to review the Department of Defense programs for destruction of the U.S. stockpile of lethal chemical warfare agents and munitions and the fiscal year 2005 budget request for the program.
We are joined at the hearing by several Members of Congress who have chemical stockpile storage in their States or districts and who are interested in chemical demil programs. I want to welcome each of those members.
The U.S. chemical weapons stockpile originally consisted of approximately 31,000 tons of lethal chemical agents in a wide variety of munitions, located at Johnston Atoll in the Pacific southwest of Hawaii and 8 sites in the continental United States. The fiscal year 1986 Defense Authorization Act requires that the destruction of the stockpile be carried out so as to ensure maximum protection of the environment, the general public, and the workers at the storage and demil sites. Destruction of the stockpile began at Johnston Atoll in 1990 and is supposed to be completed by April 29, 2007 in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty (CWCT).
As of March 15, 2004, over 8,600 tons, 27 percent of the total stockpile, have been destroyed. One hundred percent of the stockpile is now under contract for destruction.
Disposal operations have been completed at Johnston Atoll and that facility closed. Three disposal facilities are operational in the continental United States, and an additional three facilities could be operational by the end of the year. Seven thousand four hundred sixty-eight tons of the nerve agent, GB, 78 percent of the GB stockpile have been destroyed. Seven hundred and twenty-six tons, or 16 percent, of the VX persistent nerve agent stockpile have been destroyed. Much has been done, but much remains to be done.
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I have concerns about the program. We have to seek measures to reduce the time required to destroy the stockpile, and we have to seek measures to reduce the cost of that destruction. The current cost estimate of almost $25 billion to destroy the stockpile is mind-boggling. We must find ways, reasonable and cost-effective ways, to reduce the cost of destroying the stockpile.
Current estimates that the last agent will not be destroyed until 2014 and the last facility will not be closed until 2019 not only add to the total cost of the program, but also place our obligations and commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty at risk. They frankly are unacceptable. We must find ways, and affordable ways, to accelerate the destruction of the stockpile.
Above all, however, we must destroy the stockpile is such a manner that we ensure maximum protection of the environment, the general public and the workers at the storage and demil sites. That was true when Congress mandated the program in the 1986 Defense Authorization Act and is no less true today.
I am particularly concerned about ensuring that the current plans for off-site disposal of nerve agents are safe, and I will work with the appropriate agencies in the Army and in particular in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that these plans are safe for the Delaware Bay environment in the case of the New Jersey-Delaware-Pennsylvania members who are concerned.
To address the status of the Chemical Weapons Destruction Program (CWDP), the fiscal year 2005 budget request for the program and how the program is being executed are to be discussed by our witness here today.
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Before I introduce our witnesses, let me ask my good friend, Mr. Smith, if he has any comments that he would like to make?
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. ADAM SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM WASHINGTON, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. SMITH. Just quickly, I agree totally with the chairman's remarks, and I should point out I am filling in form Mr. Meehan. He had a conflict this morning.
The Chemical Stockpile Destruction Program is critically important. I appreciate all of your work on that, Mr. Chairman. It is sad it is proving more costly and time-consuming than we expected but, then again, what doesn't turn out that way these days? But we need to figure out ways to speed it up and do it in a cost effective way.
Certainly, when you think about all the work we do on nonproliferation throughout the globe and how important that work is, this is important for our credibility and continuing to pursue that and try to get people to cooperate with us internationally. So I applaud all of the efforts before hearing the testimony today about how we can do it more quickly and more cost effectively, but the bottom line is the program is critical and we need to continue to support it until we finish our job. And I thank the chairman for the opportunity.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Smith can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. I thank the gentleman for his comments.
Our witnesses today are Dr. Dale E. Klein, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs; Mr. Patrick Wakefield, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Chemical Demilitarization and Counterproliferation; the Honorable Claude M. Bolton, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics and Technology; Mr. Michael A. Parker, Director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency; Mr. Craig Conklin from the Energy Preparedness and Response Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security; and Dr. Patrick J. Meehan from the Centers for Disease Control. Mr. Decker from the Accounting Office, Mr. Raymond Decker from the Accounting Office.
Gentlemen, welcome. We look forward to your testimony, and before you do begin I want to ask unanimous consent that all of your statements be included in the record in full. And since we have a healthy looking group of people here, we would appreciate whatever you can do to make your statements complete but brief.
And we will start with Mr. MeehanI am sorry, with Dr. Klein.
STATEMENT OF DR. DALE E. KLEIN, ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR NUCLEAR, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE PROGRAMS; HON. CLAUDE M. BOLTON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (ACQUISITION, LOGISTICS AND TECHNOLGY); PAT WAKEFIELD, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (CHEMICAL DEMILITARIZATION); MICHAEL A. PARKER, DIRECTOR, U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL MATERIALS AGENCY; CRAIG CONKLIN, CHIEF, NUCLEAR AND CHEMICAL HAZARDS BRANCH PREPAREDNESS DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; DR. PATRICK MEEHAN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR PROGRAM, NATIONAL CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION AND AGENCY FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND DISEASE REGISTRY AND RAYMOND J. DECKER, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE CAPABILITIES AND MANAGEMENT, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
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Dr. KLEIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee. I am grateful to have the opportunity to address the Subcommittee today and provide you my assessment of the Department of Defense Chemical Demilitarization Program.
To begin I will request my written testimony be submitted for the record.
Mr. SAXTON. Without objection.
Dr. KLEIN. Thank you. As indicated, my name is Dale Klein. I am the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs. In this capacity, I am the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (ATL) for all matters concerning the formulation of policy and plans for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs and directly responsible for matters associated with nuclear weapons safety and security and chemical weapons demilitarization.
While representatives for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Army, the General Accounting Office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will all testify before you today, we address the problem of the elimination of chemical weapons as a team approach. Although the Department of Defense's Chemical Demilitarization Program has experienced many highs and lows this past year, our team is committed to maintaining and expanding our Nation's ability to safely destroy our aging stocks of chemical weapons.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This will require us to balance the program's challenges to a position where we can leverage our current resources to maximize the amount of chemical weapons we destroy but doing so in a manner that protects the safety and workforce and the surrounding public. My commitment to safety is and will continue to be of paramount consideration. I have spent many years in the nuclear industry where safety is very important, and I certainly take no lesser stance for this program.
There are two important points I would like to make today. First, the importance of fully funding the Department's fiscal year 2005 budget request for the Chemical Demilitarization Program, and, second, your support for our legislative proposal to consolidate the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternative Program, commonly called ACWA, under the Army.
Most of the DOD fiscal year 2005 chemical demilitarization budget request is now being spent on actual destruction of chemical weapons. We have several plants that should start operating during fiscal year 2004. By fiscal year 2005, the department expects to be operating six chemical weapons destruction facilities, and now more than ever each and every dollar requested is critical for destroying our chemical weapons stockpile and maintaining our international commitment outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention.
As I indicated earlier, I also ask for your support of our legislative proposal to consolidate the ACWA under the Army. As the General Accounting Office (GAO) reported last September, management of the DOD Chemical Demilitarization Program is unnecessarily complex and should be streamlined. While the Army has done a great job of streamlining the program by the creation of the Chemical Materials Agency (CMA), further efficiencies are necessary. Consolidation of all the chemical weapons elimination efforts into a single organization will create economies of scale and will allow us to unify the program during a time of much activity.
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The ACWA Program has been successful in identifying the technologies to be used at the Pueblo, Colorado and Blue Grass, Kentucky sites. Placing the ACWA Program under the Army with continued Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) oversight will enable the Army to better manage the total Chemical Demilitarization Program as we move through the implementation phase.
In closing, the department is fully committed to destroying our Nation's chemical weapons stockpile safety and expeditiously. To be fully effective, we need your assistance in maintaining funding to enable us to continue to meet our commitment to our citizens and to the world to destroy the U.S. chemical stockpile. I welcome any comments or questions you might have on the DOD Chemical Demilitarization Program, and I look forward to continuing to work with you as we advance our common goal of safely and completely destroying our old chemical weapons stockpile. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Klein can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Klein, thank you very much.
Mr. Secretary, Secretary Bolton.
Secretary BOLTON. Good morning. Members of the committee, I am grateful to again have the opportunity to address the committee. I, too, would like to request that my written statement be entered into the record in its entirety.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In my capacity as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and as the Army Acquisition Executive, I am responsible to the Acting Secretary of the Army and to the Defense Acquisition Executive for the execution of the Chemical Demilitarization Program.
Be assured that I am fully committed to successful implementation of the Chemical Demilitarization Program. I am also fully committed to ensuring that the public, the Congress, and the leadership and the senior Department of Defense leadership have timely, accurate information of our progress. Today, I would like to make three main points about the Chem Demil Program. First, we are committed to a safe destruction of the stockpile. Second, we are committed to performing this mission within the identified program funding levels. Last, we are scheduled to be fully operational at all of the sites under my purview this calendar year.
The mission of the Chem Demil Program is to destroy all U.S. chemical warfare material while ensuring maximum protection to the public, program personnel and the environment. We have made tremendous strides in community protection in the past few years, ensuring that the local communities near these facilities are fully prepared. I would like to reiterate that our objective is to reduce the risk to the communities surrounding chemical storage sites in concert with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, as we safely eliminate the U.S. stockpile of lethal chemical agents and munitions.
We have recently updated an Army-FEMA memorandum of understanding (MOU) that reinforces our partnership and continues our promise of providing maximum protection to the general public, workers and the environment. Each day that we operate a chemical destruction facility, we reduce the threat posed to the public by continued storage. At this critical juncture in our efforts to destroy the chemical agents stockpile, fully funding the President's budget request is imperative. The Army has carefully evaluated our requirements and we believe that we can meet these requirements at the President's proposed level of funding and still ensure that the program is executed with the highest principle and ethical standards.
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Today's state-of-art destruction facilities for destroying the Nation's stockpile of chemical agents and munitions at Tooele, Utah, Anniston, Alabama and a neutralization facility is in operation at Aberdeen, Maryland. Construction at our incineration facilities at Umatilla, Oregon, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and at our neutralization facility in Newport, Indiana is complete, and these sites are undergoing systemization. We expect to have these three sites operating at the end of this year.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, we have had challenges at Newport because of the waste part. We are currently working very closely with a second source for that waste part, and we are very confident that we will be able to bring that on board later on this year and have that site up and operational before the end of this year.
As we begin destruction operations across the United States, we will continue to rely heavily upon the professionalism of our talented workforce to perform their duties safely and expeditiously. I am proud of the government, civilian and contractor professionals performing this most important mission. With vision, they have made some great achievements on behalf of the program. The largest under the Army was it passed an 80 percent former production facility destruction milestone 16 months ahead of the Chemical Weapons Convention requirements. I am pleased that the Anniston facility has destroyed 50 percent of GB rockets stored there. During just 7 months of operations there, they have effectively and swiftly reduced the risk posed by continued storage. And since I last testified before this committee, the Army has destroyed an additional 450 tons of chemical agents and 21,905 munitions.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I ask for your continued support of this critical national program so that we may remain committed to the communities surrounding our storage sites, to the Nation and to our international partners. Thank you for the opportunity to present my statement to you and the members of this committee this morning, and I look forward to your questions.
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[The prepared statement of Secretary Bolton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much.
We will move now to Mr. Craig Conklin.
Mr. CONKLIN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to be here to provide this statement to the committee wherein I will update FEMA's activities in support of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) since my last testimony before on October 30 of last year. The partnership between the Army and FEMA is very strong and getting stronger. We are working on initiatives that are designed to enhance public protection, streamline budgeting and administrative tasks and improve the effectiveness of the overall program.
Since my last testimony, we have made many notable successes. We have developed a cooperative agreement tool, version number 3.0, which is an automated CSEPP financial management tool for budget application, review, approval, award, reporting and close-out of CSEPP grants and cooperative agreements. We have developed a computer-based interactive planning and training tool for recovery planning, which will help our communities develop first-rate recovery plans. We continue to share information and best practices using our updated CSEPP portal so that all the communities have the benefit of lessons learned from our sister sites.
We are proud of the public safety efforts that FEMA and its partners have accomplished in Alabama. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked with an accelerated schedule to complete collective protection construction projects at 20 schools in the community in a very time-compressed fashion.
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As of March 31, 2004, approximately $645 million has been allocated to the States under the annual cooperative agreements since the beginning of the program. In addition, another $80.2 million has been applied to FEMA-managed contracts that support those States. For fiscal year 2005, FEMA has programmed $96.3 million into the budget to cover all CSEPP requirement and preparedness activities. We have made significant strides in improvement benchmark compliance during 2003. The level of compliance has risen from 93 percent to a little over 95 percent. We are continuing our dialogue with state, county and Tribal Nation partners to resolve outstanding issues and to sustain the high level of preparedness that exists within the program.
As just mentioned, we have renewed our partnership through the resigning of the MOA between the Department of the Army and FEMA, which reaffirms our commitment to public health and safety. We continue to strive to increase our preparedness and readiness with a goal of reaching 100 percent benchmark attainment within the very near future. Our efforts to improve public safety, however, will not cease until the chemical weapons stockpiles are completely destroyed.
Outstanding issues in CSEPP include our continued commitment to work with the States to put together realistic cost estimates and to validate major infrastructure projects to ensure that there is resultant risk reduction. FEMA continues to stress that the best risk reduction is the quick destruction of the stockpile.
We have been asked if there is a potential for program reduction as agent destruction proceeds. The program will naturally reduce in overall cost as each community leaves the program after the last chemical warfare agent is destroyed at their stockpile site. Statutory language states that no assistance may be provided to State and local governments after the completion of the destruction of the stockpile of lethal chemical agents and munitions. However, an effective emergency management program must remain in place until the stockpile is destroyed.
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This fundamental emergency response capability is reflected primarily in base operating costs and periodic equipment replacement requirements. Although base operating costs in a mature program remain fairly constant, FEMA is committed to working with the Army to reevaluate program activities as risk reduction to the communities through the destruction of the agents is achieved. If the chem demil schedule slips significantly, then we face the possibility of increased equipment replacement requirements, and some of this equipment can be quite expensive.
Finally, we anticipate that there will be some additional costs associated with terminating CSEPP activities at each site. A close-out integrated product team has been formed to address these close-out issues and to develop guidelines for State and local governments on how to proceed with close-out activities.
In closing, I want to thank our CSEPP communities for their commitment and dedication to this important program, and we renew our pledge to work with them until their risk of a chemical stockpile incident no longer exists. Because of agent disposal, Alabama has reduced its risk by 12 percent in the few months since my last testimony. The other communities can see similar reductions once they begin destruction of the chemical weapons, and we all look forward to that day when the last chemical weapon and warfare agent is destroyed. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Conklin can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Meehan, please.
Dr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am Patrick Meehan, Deputy Director of Programs at the National Center for Environmental Health, one of the centers within the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. I want to thank the committee for inviting me here today to discuss CDC's legislatively mandated public health oversight role in the DOD's Chemical Demil Program. I want to also to thank the subcommittee for your interest in ensuring the safe destruction and disposal of our Nation's chemical weapons stockpile.
My testimony is going to focus on two general topics: First, CDC's mandated role in overseeing DOD's plans for destroying the Nation's stockpile of chemical weapons, and, second, CDC's involvement at the Newport, Indiana and the Aberdeen, Maryland facilities.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is mandated by law to oversee DOD's plans for destroying the Nation's stockpile of chemical weapons, including any plans to transport or dispose of lethal chemical or biological warfare agents. Our mission in carrying out the mandate is to protect the public's health and safety by reviewing plans, providing advice and making recommendations on the safe disposal and transportation of both stockpile and non-stockpile chemical warfare agents.
The Secretary of Defense is required to implement CDC's recommendations for precautionary measures to protect the public health and safety. In carrying out these activities, CDC's primary focus has been on preventing potential problems that could adversely affect the health of disposal site workers and the surrounding communities. I have provided more detail on CDC's general role in this program in my written testimony.
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During 2004, CDC's Chemical Demil Program has focused much of its activities on the Newport Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Indiana, because the planned process is a relatively new technology on a fast track, and operations are scheduled to begin soon. The proposed process at Newport, Indiana will use chemical neutralization of VX, followed by secondary transportation to an off-site facility for treatment and disposal of the resulting wastewater.
CDC has devoted significant resources to evaluating the first phase, the neutralization of VX at the Newport site. The two basic concerns with this first phase are, first, ensuring that the waste hydrolysate, the waste byproduct of neutralized VX, does not contain any detectable level of VX, and, second, ensuring that the facility can operate safety. Last year, CDC conducted an evaluation of the Newport site's hazard analysis process. The review provided recommendations in several key areas. The Newport staff and contractor are currently addressing our recommendations. In addition to the CDC review, the Newport project team has contracted with Texas A & M University to conduct an independent risk analysis of the process. CDC will review the results of the analysis before the facility begins processing agent.
In conformity with public laws delineating our involvement in chemical demilitarization, CDC's role generally ends when the waste no longer contains any detectable level of chemical weapons agent, at which time the responsibility for the waste falls under existing transportation and environmental disposal regulations. Nonetheless, CDC is available to provide assistance to the Army or to EPA within our areas of expertise.
The Army's proposal for secondary treatment of Newport caustic hydrolysate at a Dupont facility in New Jersey has generated significant public controversy. CDC has reviewed and provided comment on one draft DuPont report related to health hazards associated with the hydrolysate, a document titled, ''Health Hazard Considerations for Safe Management of Newport Caustic Hydrolysate''. CDC was not asked to review the other three DuPont documents. In short, CDC has not conducted a comprehensive review or analysis of the proposed project to transport and treat the secondary waste generated by the VX neutralization.
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The Aberdeen facility is another chemical neutralization facility at which CDC has been active in an oversight role during the start-up of operations. Before the Aberdeen facility began processing agent, CDC evaluated the air monitoring systems and laboratory capabilities, attended integrated operation demonstrations and examined process safety. CDC is aware of the operational problems at the Aberdeen site and has been briefed by the Army on the status of the facility. CDC is planning to revisit the facility in May of this year to review changes the Army has made to the operation.
Although I have pointed out a number of challenges currently associated with our oversight responsibility, I want to also emphasize that CDC has had a long and successful working relationship with the Army's chem demil activity. The successful completion of the agent destruction mission at Johnson Atoll and the safe elimination of the GB stockpile at Tooele, are representative of the true accomplishments in reducing the threat of chemical weapons. CDC looks forward to contributing to continued safe progress in this vital program.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, this concludes my testimony, and I would be happy to answer any questions and respond to requests for information. Thanks.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Meehan can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Dr. Meehan.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DECKER. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee. It is a privilege to be here this morning to discuss an important program that affects our nation.
Since its inception in 1985, the Chemical Demil Program has been charged with destroying the Nation's large chemical weapons stockpile of over 31,000 tons of agent. The program started destroying the stockpile, as you know, in 1990. As of March 2004, the program had destroyed over 27 percent of the stockpile.
The program was recently reorganized into the Chemical Materials Agency, which my friend Mike Parker heads, to manage seven of the nine sites. There are five sites using incineration to destroy the agent and two bulk agent only sites using neutralization. The Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, ACWA, Program in the Department of Defense manages two sites, Pueblo and Bluegrass, and they use neutralization to destroy the agents.
This testimony updates our 2003 September report and the October 2003 testimony before this committee. As requested, I will briefly comment on the following areas: The changes in the status of the program milestones and program costs, recent developments that impact the Chemical Weapons Convention, CWC, deadlines, the challenges associated with managing the program and an update on the status of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program, CSEPP, which Mr. Conklin just spoke about.
Since GAO testified in October of 2003, the Chem Demil Program continues to fall behind in its scheduled milestones which were last extended in 2001. In the last 6 months, very little agent, and I think you heard 400 tons or so, were destroyed. While one site has closed, no new sites have started destroying agent, although two were scheduled last monthMarch. The delays in the program schedule can be attributed to incidents during the operation at different sites, environmental permitting issues, concerns about emergency preparedness and unfunded requirements. If these delays persist, GAO continues to believe that program costs will substantially rise higher than the 2003 October estimate of $25 billion.
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Already these rising costs have forced a reallocation of funds within the program's fiscal year 2005 budget. Due to schedule delays, the United States will not meet the CWC April 2004 deadline to destroy 45 percent of the stockpile, and I think Mr. Bolton covered thatmade that comment. Although the United States has received an extension to December 2007, It is questionable if the program will meet this deadline. Furthermore, DOD has said it will ask for an extension of the final deadline to destroy 100 percent of the stockpile beyond 2007, and you are allowed up to a 5-year extension. And as you heard earlier, probably we are going to ask for the extension to 2012.
A positive development in the program is that the current leadership has been stable for over a year since this reorganization, the CMA reorganization. However, as we have noted before, several long-standing organizational and strategic planning issues remain. One problem is the complex nature of the program and the multiple lines of authority which make roles and responsibilities somewhat unclear once you get below the leadership here at the table. Another area that GAO recommended a recommendation, which has been accepted, was the need for a strategic plan as well as a risk mitigation plan so that there would be no surprises in the future. These important management tools will improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the program.
Since GAO testified last October, there continues to be improvement in the preparation of State and local communities to respond to chemical emergencies, and you heard Mr. Conklin comment that 6 of the 10 sitesStates near the stockpiles report that they are fully prepared while four are very close to completion, and that is a good sign.
This is a marked improvement since the 2001 report where we noticed that three States were significantly behind in their preparation. But the dilemma is that CSEPP costs continue to rise, and this is because some States expanded their preparedness budgetstheir requests past their approved budgets, and that is an area that I hope to comment on later about the definition of maximum protection.
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In closing, as the program costs steadily mount and it continues to miss milestones, the pressure on the program leadership to effectively manage this complex effort will become more acute. The current and future Federal budget realities will severely test the ability of the program leadership to expeditiously and safely destroy the chemical weapons stockpile while exercising good fiscal stewardship.
Without fresh, innovative and effective approaches that engage all stakeholders, including Congress, State, local and other elements of the executive branch, in a frank and honest dialogue to resolve many of the problem areas I have highlighted, the chemical demil team will struggle to present acceptable results expected by our government, our Nation and our citizens.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my personal statement. I will answer any questions the committee has.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Decker can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. We appreciate all of you being here, and we appreciate the statements that you have made here this morning.
Let me just kind of lead off here and get right to the heart of this, which is two-fold for me. A, as someone who has cared about the environment and worked for the environment, both in my role as a member of the Armed Services Committee but also in my role as a member of the Resources Committee and before that on another committee known as the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, which is back in the old days before everybody at this place on this panel with the exception of Mr. Hefley who is older than me
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Mr. HEFLEY. By a week.
Mr. SAXTON. By a week. And now he is getting grumpy. [Laughter.]
Mr. HEFLEY. I object. [Laughter.]
Mr. SAXTON. We certainly are all of the mind that we want you to be successful in helping our society to rid itself of these materials. We also have questions at the same time as to the safety of the process, and I would just like to talk about that for a minute, because it is of great public concern.
I have in front of me a newspaper article that will demonstrate for you the depth of concern of the citizens of a neighboring State in New Jersey, that being Delaware. Let me just read the first several paragraphs here to give you a sense of the concern of citizens and their representatives.
It says, ''The Delaware Senate approved a resolution Wednesday urging the Army to abandon a plan to send nerve agent disposal waste to a treatment plant near the Delaware Memorial Bridge in New Jersey. Backers of the resolution called the 17 to zero vote a clear signal of community disapproval. Four lawmakers abstained from voting on the non-binding resolution which will go to the house. The resolution focused on a Defense Department proposal to send as much as four million gallons of, quote, 'caustic wastewater,' from an Army VX stockpile in Newport, Indiana to an industrial wastewater treatment plant at the DuPont Company, Chambers Works in Deepwater, New Jersey. Delaware lawmakers acted quickly on the senate proposal.''
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Now, Mr. Decker mentioned environmental permitting issues, and I would just like to talk about that for a minute, Dr. Klein, to have you explain to us the process that you go through. And let's use this case as an example so that we can understand what it is that you need to do, where you are in the process, how the States interact in the permitting process and the steps thatI am sure you think this is a safe processor I shouldn't put words in your mouth, but I assume that you wouldn't do anything that you thought was unsafe and therefore it is fair to assume that you think it is probably safe.
So could you just explain to us the permitting process and how you see the situation at the Delaware Deepwater Plant in New Jersey currently?
Dr. KLEIN. Certainly, Mr. Chairman. What I will do is make some opening comments and then turn those over to Secretary Bolton and the Army as the executive agent for actually getting those permits.
One of the things that we always do in terms of our chemical demilitarization process is safety is number one. The environment is certainly right there along with safety. The facility that is being considered for the disposal of the hazardous waste from both the Aberdeen and the Newport, Indiana plant are at facilities that have been licensed to conduct those. So we certainly expect those to follow all of the environmental permits, and that will be handled through the Army as executive agent. As far as the exact procedures, I will deflect the details to Mr. Bolton, as the executive agent to do this.
Mr. SAXTON. Deflect or refer? [Laughter.]
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Dr. KLEIN. Probably both.
Secretary BOLTON. Newport is going through a neutralization setup and one of the products is actually making a waste product also. It is not a nerve agent, not a chemical weapon, it has been neutralized, but it is caustic waste most of all. We tried earlier, as I mentioned in my opening statement, to subcontract that waste to another facility. We were not able to get that done because of permitting issues, and so we went to DuPont. DuPont, as Dr. Klein has already mentioned, did license. It was not a question of getting a license, but the question is will ours meet their licensing requirements.
Mr. SAXTON. Could you explain what that means, please?
Secretary BOLTON. It means whether DuPont, whether the folks in Ohio they have a permit. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said, ''As long as you have this permit you can conduct business,'' and so they have already gone through the process of being certified by the state, by other regulatory agencies, conducted tests of this type of waste product.
So when DuPont or any other company accepts this, they must make sure that they are within their permits and guidelines. And so they will take a look at our product and test it. Unlike the site we were using before, DuPont has the only system to make sure that what we give them is what we told them they are going to get. Of course we test it before it leaves the plant. Before it leaves the plant, it has got to go through our guidelines, so there is no live agent in the waste product.
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In terms of volume, DuPont processes, what, 3050 million gallons a day. We will have, just approximate, though, in fact we list the percentages, we are at 1500th of 1 percent of the materials that go through there. So it is totally insignificant as far as they are concerned. And by the way, they have been doing this for 27 years. So we have high confidence that they know how to take care of this waste product. We have high confidence that it will be a waste product and not a nerve agent. Otherwise we wouldn't ship it.
Now, what are the consequences if we are not able to do this? By the way, we went to the committee and most States, Delaware and New Jersey, we have had public forums, we have extended the public period another 30 days to allow comments from them after the last sessions that we had on the 17th and 19th of March. If there are any comments, we and the company can review those to see if there is anything that we should do to make sure the citizenry are satisfied that we are doing things in a safe and responsible manner. In doing that, we have actually delayed operations at Newport.
Now, if it should all come for not for whatever reason, either we can't convince the company that we are giving them the right waste product or the public says no, there are pressures there, then we have no alternative but to look at Newport and to build back the treatment facility at Newport. That will delay destruction of the materials there, and it will increase the cost. Our intent is to get rid of the chemical materials as quickly as possible but safely. Safety is number one. To do that we believe that going to DuPont is a way of doing that that can be done safely and allows us to go ahead and destroy the chemical stockpile there at Newport.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Did I understand you to say that the permitting process has been completed under a more general permitting process by the Federal EPA as well as by the States?
Mr. PARKER. Sir, the permit to operate Newport, the primary site where the VX will be completely destroyed, has been through its full permitting process. The State of Indiana is the ultimate arbiter for that location. We are still in the process of satisfying the National Environmental Policy Act procedures for the transportation treatment of the material at Deepwater, New Jersey. That decision has yet to be made.
We have had a number of public meetings, 17, 19 March, both in New Jersey and in Delaware. We are in the process now of going through the public comment period, and that will lead up to a decision on whether or not to proceed with that option. So with regard to the NEPA, National Environmental Policy Act, that is still open, we are still in the process of satisfying that.
DuPont, as Mr. Bolton said, holds a permit issued by the State of New Jersey for the purposes of operating their facility. DuPont has conducted an independent assessment of the treatability of the neutralized product from Newport to make sure that it can satisfy all the requirements of the State of New Jersey and their permit. Those treatability studies have been looked at by two independent sources from the operating facility in New Jersey, one by an internal DuPont laboratory and one by the University of Virginia at Blacksburg, to conduct an independent technical assessment of DuPont's treatability study. All of those results have been favorable, fully compliant with the terms of the permit issued by the State of New Jersey and free of any derogatory effect on the Delaware River.
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Mr. SAXTON. And when are these permits issued? Do you happen to know that? Maybe that is an unfair question because that is probably a detail that you haven't dealt with for a while. But is this a permit that is issued on an annual basis or is it a permit that is issued for some period of time?
Mr. PARKER. The operating permit for the facility at Deepwater, as I understand, is on a 5-year basis and that it allows within a ceiling value, which I believe, although it would have to be verified by DuPont, I think they can treat up to 18 million gallons a day of product in accordance with the criteria established by the State of New Jersey's environmental regulatory authority. So they have a 5-year operating permit, and that would cover the period of time that would be necessary to treat the material from Newport.
Mr. SAXTON. And I guess Dr. Klein or someone mentioned thatI guess it was Dr. Klein mentioned that the material before it is shipped from Illinois to New Jersey
Dr. KLEIN. From Indiana.
Mr. SAXTON [continuing]. From Indiana to New Jersey, thank you, is tested for toxicity and perhaps other types of tests. Can you explain that?
Dr. KLEIN. Sure, Mr. Chairman. What they doagain, I think in responding to some of the comments that Representative Smith made early on, I think the Army did a good job in looking at alternatives, both for cost and schedule to do this and in a safe and environmentally safe manner.
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The material before it is transported is tested to make sure that it is under classification of hazardous waste, not a toxic material. They have very fine analytical capabilities to do that today, it is very standard, and this is a technique that has been proven. I think the fact that we have been doing this at the Aberdeen site has demonstrated it is a technology that we understand. Nothing is shipped off the Aberdeen site. We ship material off, it is tested before it goes, so this is a very standard process, and it has been handled, I think, environmentally sound.
Mr. SAXTON. And when it arrives at the site of final disposal, DuPont, is it tested by New Jersey officials to satisfy their requirements?
Dr. KLEIN. I don't know the answer to that. Mike, do you know?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir. It will be tested by DuPont under the oversight of the New Jersey Department of Environment (DEP), which will audit and assure that DuPont is following the appropriately procedures and the necessary quality control-quality assurance measures are in place.
Mr. SAXTON. Now, is there a Federal EPA issue here in terms of issuing a permit as well? How does EPA fit in with New Jersey DEP? How do they work together, or do they?
Mr. PARKER. My understanding in this area it is a delegated authority from the Federal Government, from EPA, to States, in this case the State of New Jersey. So there is EPA involvement in over-watching what the State of New Jersey does to assure that it is following the Federal guidelines. But the day-to-day actions of overseeing DuPont would be done by the State of New Jersey and in the case of Indiana where the VX is completely neutralized, the State of Indiana conducts independent oversight and assures that the operations at Newport are executed properly, and, as touched on, will assure that the methods used by the Army and our prime contractor to assure the VX is completely destroyed are being effectively applied.
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Secretary BOLTON. Mr. Chairman, I would also like to point out, as Dr. Klein mentioned just briefly, that we have been doing this for several months at Aberdeen. We have been shipping that neutralized waste product via truck over highways to even more densely populated areas with absolutely no problem and going through all of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and all the EPA and all the regulatory procedures, and that has worked out very, very well, to the same plant.
Mr. SAXTON. Well, I can understand from your context how you can say, ''No problem,'' but if you are on this side of the table
Secretary BOLTON. I understand, sir.
Mr. SAXTON [continuing]. It might be different. I am sure that as time goes on we will have more questions involving these safety issues. It is comforting in a way to know that the New Jersey DEP has a watchful eye on this and has a responsibility because of all the DEPs, environmental protection organizations that I have come into contact with, it is about the toughest, and I speak from a long period of experience with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. But we may have more questions on this issue, so if you will stand by for us, we would appreciate that.
And at this point, I won't monopolize the time, we will go to Mr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. I don't have any questions.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Kline.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all for being here today. Dr. Klein, always a pleasure to see you. We are still working on the name spelling issue. [Laughter.]
Mr. KLINE. I have a feeling I am not going to win on that one since a close look at the German language actually has you right.
I don't have a specific question except to say that we are anxious that we will be able to proceed with this process as quickly as we can and safely and cost effectively. And I remain troubled today in listening to the testimony of all of you that we just seem to not be able to move as fast as we all would like to be able to to get rid of these materials. So I am listening intently and encouraging you to do the very best that you can, as quickly and safely as you can.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Earlier, Mr. Conklin made a statement that based on the GB rockets that have been destroyed at Anniston today, about 12 percent of the risk to the community has been eliminated. But when the balance of the GB and VX rockets are completely destroyed what would you say the risk factor will be at that time? How much will it have been reduced?
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Mr. PARKER. It is almost 97 percent of the risk is eliminated once the nerve agent munitions are gone.
Mr. ROGERS. And in what time table do you think we will have those rockets eliminated by?
Mr. PARKER. We anticipate having all of the GB munitions, the M55 GB rocket and the GB-filled projectiles, completed by the end of calendar year 2005, and would then go through a changeover period, a rather extended period of time, and then go into VX operations which would run about a year and a half, which would take us out toward the end of calendar year 2007.
Mr. ROGERS. At the end of calendar year 2005 when those GB rockets are destroyed, what level of risk will we have eliminated at that point?
Mr. PARKER. I think it is about 60 percent, 60 to 65 percent.
Mr. ROGERS. And recently there has been a retest of the PCB levels there at the Anniston Depot. Could you discuss that for us?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir. First of all, I think to frame the issue of concerns, legitimate, very legitimate concerns given the history of the area with PCB emissions from the plant during the 8 months that we have been in operation, I would like to just make very clear that the levels of PCB, even based on the prior test, were extremely, extremely low, well below any health effects or environmental thresholds.
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We recently completed the retest due to some anomalies in the first series of testing, and based on a much stricter testing protocol in the area of how the samples were acquired and the analytical lab that conducted the results, we were able to demonstrate the we exceeded the destruction threshold under the Toxic Substance Control Act requirement. So the emission levels of PCB are negligible and have been throughout the rocket disposal operation.
Mr. ROGERS. And do you expect the EPA permit to be issued?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir. The results are in the hands of the EPA, and I shouldn't really speak for them, but I think we are very confident we will see the Toxic Substance Control Act compliance issued here in the very near term.
Mr. ROGERS. I heard you talking a little while ago about you expect your Umatilla, Pine Bluff and Newport facilities to be operating pretty soon. What are the lessons learned from the safety measures taken at Anniston that you think are going to be carried forward to those installations that make them just as safe as Anniston is?
Mr. PARKER. Well, we have instituted many years ago and recently upgraded the programmatic lessons learned program, as we call it. Anniston was a particularly good start-up for us. It went very smoothly, both in an operational context and more importantly in a safety and environmental compliance context. We did take a number of lessons learned out of Anniston on how some of the process equipment is maintained and having to do with maintenance cycles and the planned shutdowns for the purposes of cleaning and repairing and servicing equipment. We took that lesson out and we have already taken that and inducted into that start-up procedures planned for Umatilla and Pine Bluff.
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In the area of safety, we have looked at the start-up procedures which were very successfully applied at Anniston where we processed a very small number of rockets, took a pause to ensure all of the operating parameters were in the appropriate range and all of the monitoring data was within compliance. And then we iterated up increasing gradually the through-put of the plant to demonstrate we could control both process and meet all those standards. We will duplicate that again at Umatilla and Pine Bluff because it was so successful at Anniston.
Mr. ROGERS. That is all the questions I have, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Bolton, I think you mentioned that there wasand just by way of reference, DuPont is in my district. I think you mentioned that DuPont was not the first site, that there was a permit problem with the other site. Are you at allcan you tell us anything about where that other site was and what the permit problem was?
Secretary BOLTON. The other site was in Dayton, Ohio, and we asked our prime contractor to go and find a facility that handled this waste product, and the first one they contacted that could do this was located in Dayton, Ohio. In order to use that facility, we ultimately had to get permission from the Water Board there to allow this to happen. The company had a permit, if I remember correctly, Mike, and it was a matter of making sure, as we are doing with DuPont, that we can provide the material, this waste product, that could meet this permit that the folks in Dayton had and the Water Board was the one that was going to issue that.
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As we went through this, my recollection was that we were not able to get permission from the Water Board till all this happened, not because of the material itself. It was tested and we thought we could stay within the balance there. But for reasons that I don't know, we were not able to get a permit through the Water Board and so we went elsewhere.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Okay. Mike, do you want to add to that?
Mr. PARKER. Sir, the treatment facility was Perma-Fix, as Mr. Bolton said, near Dayton, Ohio. They would do the treatment of the neutralized product from Newport at this facility and then their procedure was to discharge into a sewage treatment plant in the local area where then the material is processed along with the other municipal waste and then discharged into the Miami River. The authority for the sewage treatment plant would not agree to allow Perma-Fix to discharge into their sewage treatment plant.
Mr. LOBIONDO. So there was a permit through the State of Ohio, but then a local permit was denied? Was that the process?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir. The plant was permitted under the oversight of the State of Ohio and their treated product, which theyand they treat a significant quantity of industrial waste that is then discharged into the sewage treatment plant so that a local Water Board controls that permit. So there were two permits that had to be satisfied.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Okay. So in the case of DuPont and Deepwater, the State of New Jersey you said has issued a permit. Is there another permit that is needed from locals as there was in Dayton?
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Mr. PARKER. No. This is under theas I understand it, strictly under the auspices of the State of New Jersey.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Okay. So the one permit that is been issued by DEP is the only permit you need.
Mr. PARKER. Yes, that DuPont needs to operate the facility.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Needs to operate the facility. And, in turn, accept the material from Indiana.
Mr. PARKER. Yes, along with the other materials, as Mr. Bolton touched on. They treat 15 million gallons a day of material through the plant. We are talking about adding 10,000 gallons of material to 15 million gallons that they already process in the plant on a daily basis.
Mr. LOBIONDO. And I know you talked about this, and I just wanted to join in and echo what Congressman Saxton on the questions that he asked, but at this stage, what are your next steps for this being reality? You said in your statement that if this does not happen for a number of reasons, what might that be? How are you deciding now what fits in? And I need Dr. Meehan to ask again ofand you explained this a little bitof what interaction is the CDC having on this particular issue and how are you all looking at what the CDC has done?
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PARKER. Sir, as I mentioned earlier, we are in the process of the public comment period required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Just recently, I think the New Jersey delegation, including you, signed a request of the CDC to take an independent look at the proposed treatment at DuPont. Before the Army would make a decision under the NEPA procedures, we will await to see what the CDC comments and observations are and fully consider that before proceeding with a decision and advising our contractor, Parsons, to enter into a contract with DuPont.
That same information, obviously, would beCDC information would be provided to DuPont, and I am sure DuPont, really as the world's premier safety and environmental corporate entity, would make their own judgment based on the additional information passed from CDC whether or not they want to treat the waste. So I think we will give full consideration and look forward to the CDC input.
Dr. MEEHAN. Regarding our involvement, sir, as I stated in the testimony, generally, once the waste product is free of lethal chemical agents, traditionally, our involvement had ended and we have turned it over involvement of other regulatory authorities that deal with toxic waste and that sort of thing. We are aware of the request for us to review the documents from DuPont and, as I said in the testimony, we are happy to provide technical assistance and consultation and review those documents.
To the extent we have expertise, we have perused very quickly those documents, and we know that we will have to work with the Army to get some assistance in reviewing some parts of those documents, because it may be beyond the expertise of our specific staff, but we can work with the Army and contractors to do a review and provide technical assistance.
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Mr. LOBIONDO. Do you have an guesstimate of the time table of your involvement?
Dr. MEEHAN. Well, we just received those documents and very quickly perused them, so I can't really give you a specific idea because we don't know how complex those are.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Okay. I thank you very much, and I, again, join with Congressman Saxton in requesting that as this very sensitive issue moves forward if we have additional questions, we have the ability to contact you for comment.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here today. I just want to take a little bit of a different track if I could. I am curious to know when the original Chemical Weapons Treaty was signed, I know there are some 170-odd nations that signed on and not all of them have chemical weapons programs. But of those nations that did not sign the treaty, now many were they and who are they? And of those that did not sign, which do we suspect as having chemical weapons programs?
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Mr. PARKER. I will answer that question, sir. Those nations that did sign obviously were those with signatures and then there are other nations that became ratifying nations. Of the nations that we are aware of with the greatest possessions of chemical weapons, which is Russia, United States, India, we have all ratified and signed on and begun destruction efforts thus far. Obviously, the other part you are referring to about other nations who perhaps may possess weapons and whether they have declared those stockpiles is a classified piece of information. We would have to get that to you separately.
I might add most recently Albania has declared a weapons stockpile, and, of course, as you know, Libya has as well. They have become part of the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons, and they have in fact had recent inspections in these countries as well to look at the stockpile and they are working on destruction efforts as we speak.
Mr. LANGEVIN. I would like to follow up with a classified answer.
[The information referred to is classified.]
Mr. PARKER. No problem.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Moving on, I would like to know what are the consequences or penalties if the U.S. does not meet the Chemical Weapons Convention deadline's total destruction of weapons stockpiles by 2007 or 2012 if an extension is granted? And also how are other nations fairing in their efforts to attain their Chemical Weapons Convention goals?
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Mr. PARKER. The first part of your question is really actually quite undefined. We have asked ourselves that question and we have used legal counselors as well as part of this. The treaty actually provides that the nations should destroy those declared weapons and destroy them in a timely fashion. The deadline was set for 2007.
The treaty also provided if you could not complete 100 percent of your destruction, there was a 5-year provision that was allowed for the unanticipated consequences that any nation may experience, both technical, regulatory or otherwise. Obviously, we are experiencing similarly the same thing as many other nations.
The U.S., for instance, we are to have completed our 45 percent destruction deadline this coming year. We were not able to meet that. We have sought an extension for that deadline. We have received that from the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons. We have now defined a new deadline as December of 2007. The other nation with the greatest possession is Russia. At this point, Russia has just met its 1 percent milestone which should have been met many, many years ago in fact. Russia has also sought extensions to their deadlines, and they have received extensions at the same time the U.S. did just this last October. In principle, the U.S. has received an extension, not the official but in principle to the 100 percent deadline, to 2012. Obviously, we are going to have to answer that in a very formal fashion to the U.S. Government and to the organization when we do that.
Dr. KLEIN. I think if you look at the treaty when it was signed, roughly, in 1997 with a 10-year period for the destruction, they understood that it was technically and politically difficult to carry that out, which is why they had the 5-year extension. And I think, clearly, Russia will not meet their 2012 deadline with the 5-year extension.
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Mr. LANGEVIN. The program's method of destruction has gone from incineration to neutralization followed by bio-treatment, and it is now pursuing neutralization by supercritical water oxidation. And I know you have talked a little bit about this this morning but for those of us present who don't have a background in chemistry, could you describe in maybe a little more detail how the processes work and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
And the other part of my question, has the Army studied the possibility of plasma conversion, which is an emerging technology that uses temperatures up to 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit to neutralize hazardous agents?
Mr. PARKER. Sir, we are using multiple processes or multiple technologies. As you touched on, four of our facilities will use an incineration-based technology, four will use a neutralization-based primary followed by bio-treatment or supercritical water oxidation or treatment at an off-site facility for secondary treatment.
In summary, the primary advantages, say, neutralization, it is a very well-established commercial process, very well-understood. We have operated many years at Johnston Island at the facility at Deseret, Utah, the Tooele Destruction Facility. And those are incineration facilities. As was touched on by Mr. Rogers, we just went through a very, very successful start-up at the Anniston plant, which is an incineration-based plant. We anticipate equally as effective start-ups at Pine Bluff and Umatilla because we are operating on a very well-established technology that we have operated at a number of facilities and we understand very well.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The neutralization facilities are a new technology and we will go through some learning pains as we bring those technologies online. The one facility we have online at the Aberdeen Proving Ground has presented us a number of technical challenges as we have tried to start that plant up. The benefit of going through a staged start-up, Aberdeen, then Newport, then the facility at Pueblo, Colorado and eventually Bluegrass, Kentucky, is that we will learn as we go along, as we have on the incineration side. So as those technologies mature, we will do better on subsequent start-ups.
At the end of the day, the technologies as far as being effective and destroying the material, in the cost sense, the impact on the environment, the fundamental to the workforce or the communities are basically awash. If you look at it, the incineration facilities operate well within any emission standards that present a health risk. We anticipate the same for the neutralization facilities. The generation of secondary waste and the challenges in dealing with that are different facility to facility but both manageable within the standards.
And could I get you to repeat the last point on another technology which you
Mr. LANGEVIN. It is an emerging technology called plasma conversion, and it basically used temperatures up to 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit to neutralize hazardous agents.
Mr. PARKER. We looked at plasma as a potential technology as directed by the Congress as a result of Public Law 104208, and plasma technology, while it is different than an incinerator in its technical definition, it has many of the same characteristics of an incinerator. It just happens to operate at a higher temperature which once you get above a certain point and you have fully oxidized materials, the temperature really is irrelevant. The plasma technologies were not mature enough at the point in time that we had to make technology decisions for the program.
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Mr. LANGEVIN. When did that review take place?
Mr. PARKER. The technology decisions were made in the 20012002 time frame. And the plasma technology was evaluated under the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment Program in the 1998 to 2001 time frame.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Has it been reviewed since then?
Mr. PARKER. It has been looked for potential application on the non-stockpile program as a technology that potentially lends itself toward a small mobile operating units. In comparison to other viable technologies, such as the explosive disposal system for small scale disposals, it was found to be less cost effective and generated more secondary waste than the chosen technology.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. SAXTON. The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Hefley?
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On the 8 chemical weapons stockpiles planned for destruction by DOD, why is the Pueblo, Colorado site proposed to be cut $147 million, which I think effectively will stop that program for 2005? And does a cut of that magnitude not place the entire Pueblo program in long-term jeopardy?
Dr. KLEIN. Let me attempt to start to answer that one, and then my colleagues can join in. As all individuals have to do, we have to balance budgets, and under the CMA Program we had some real needs identified early on in the planning stages. In addition, for the Pueblo site, it appears that the ACWA Program would not be able to expend all the funds that they had. They have some carryover funds.
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I personally met with the representative from Colorado three to four times. I have been out there at the Pueblo site. We want to assure you that there is no intent to leave any indication that we are not addressing the concerns of the citizens of Colorado, and we certainly want to destroy those chemical weapons in a timely fashion.
As we move through the actual operation of fiscal year 2005, we will make any budget adjustments that we can to expedite all of our sites. This was just based on the information we had when we needed to submit the President's budget, it seemed to be the best use of the taxpayers' money. We also had an issue where we really want to examine the design, the preliminary design at the Pueblo site. It looked like it was getting a little bit too large, and so we looked at some alternatives to that area. So I just want to assure you that we definitely are moving forward with Pueblo. We do not believe that it will have a serious impact on the schedule at this point, the ultimate life cycle.
Mr. HEFLEY. I guess what is the plan for Pueblo, because we have a plan, we think we are operating? As far as I know, there are World War I agents there, so we have had that stuff there for a long, long time? What is the basic plan and schedule for Pueblo?
Dr. KLEIN. You will see a lot of activities for construction under the military construction (MILCON) budget for the Pueblo site during 20042005, and the plan is to use a neutralization technology to dispose in a safe manner the chemical agents.
Mr. HEFLEY. At one point, there wasthe idea was floated of moving those agents to Utah where we already have a plant and disposing of them there. Was that ever a serious thought, and is that thought still alive?
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Dr. KLEIN. After 911, we looked at a lot of options, because we viewed those sites as potential terrorist targets, and so we looked at a lot of options. In my opinion, at this point, it is unlikely that we will move those at all. Again, when we compared the risk of transportation versus the risk of neutralizing the agents at the Pueblo site, the community was much more in favor of having those weapons neutralized on-site rather than shipping them off-site.
Mr. HEFLEY. The community sure would be, but what about the tax dollar? Which is the cheaper way to do it? You have got a plant out thereI am not pushing that idea except I just want to know what the thinking is.
Dr. KLEIN. We did look at that in terms of cost. In our estimates at the time it was about a wash.
Mr. HEFLEY. About a wash?
Dr. KLEIN. And, again, all of these factor into how long does it take you to get the permit, how long does it take you to build the plant, how long does it take to operate? If we could turn back time, it would have been nice to have moved all of these early, early on when we had the Johnston Island facility still in operation, but that time has passed. And so what we have to do now is just make the best decision we can with the taxpayer and the safety in mind.
Mr. HEFLEY. Do you have any idea when we anticipate actually beginning destruction there in Pueblo?
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Secretary BOLTON. Like I said, about 2007, I think.
Mr. PARKER. Depending on the decision which is currently at the OSD level for a determination on when we would lock the design down, but the current schedule would call for initiation of pilot operations in about 2009 and full-scale operationsI am sorry, 2007 for pilot operations; full-scale operations, 2008 to 2010.
Mr. HEFLEY. To be finished when?
Mr. PARKER. Two thousand ten.
Mr. HEFLEY. To have it all done by 2010?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir. The agent operations. There would be a couple years after that to decontaminate and close the facility, but the agent operations would be completed in 2010.
Mr. HEFLEY. Okay. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. KLEIN. One of the things that we did for the Colorado representatives, we have an individual, Mr. Klump, that participates in a lot of our meeting so we can enhance the communication between Department of Defense and the citizens of Colorado.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Klein, as you have indicated here a couple of times in your testimony, following the recognition of threats posed by terrorism, a decision was made to try to accelerate the disposal process. And as we look at the trend line in spending, while the process has been accelerated, we don't see commensurate increases in the budget. Can you speak to that issue and tell us how you can accelerate the process when your budget doesn't seem to be accelerating?
Dr. KLEIN. Well, Mr. Chairman, when we looked after 911 we wanted to use a lot of technologies to the extent that we could to neutralize these agents as quickly and certainly as safely as we could. It turns out that the speedy neutralization process will cut time, but it is almost cost-neutral. In other words, it will get rid of the materials, toxicity and hazards earlier but not a lot of cost savings. I think what we need to look at in terms of we want to destroy these elements as quickly as we can but with safety as paramount importance. We have quarterly meetings between Secretary Bolton and I to make sure that we are on track, on task as much as we can.
One of the challenges, as Mr. Parker indicated earlier, is the Aberdeen site has had some technical challenges that we did not expect, and it is not going as speedily as we had expected.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PARKER. Mr. Saxton, within the budget if you look at it below the top line and you look at it by the sub-appropriationsoperation and maintenance, procurement, constructionI think you will see that as we have completed the construction activities, the money has moved from MILCON and procurement to much more heavily focused on operation and the maintenance money. So that you really need to look below the top line.
Having said that, as a Director, we would certainlyanything the Congress would wish to add to it It is certainly your discretion.
Mr. SAXTON. We thank you. [Laughter.]
Mr. SAXTON. In 1986, we passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which established the Chemical Stockpile Destruction Program and it mandated that it be established as a defense-wide program and not be part of the budget of any single service. However, today, the program is being carried out by the Army, and I believe in this case being paid for by the Army's budget. If that is true, then whyhow does this comply with the 1986 law?
Dr. KLEIN. The Army is the executive agent, but this is a defense-wide account. It is not an Army account. The Army is the executive agent, but it is a defense-wide account.
Mr. PARKER. In fact, Mr. Chairman, I would add to that that in the language of 2 years ago, the committee was very clear about the need to make this a defense-wide account. In fact, the department took that seriously and in fact made this a defense-wide account and in fact executes in that particular fashion. It is in Title 6, which is a defense-wide account other.
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Mr. SAXTON. What happens if there are increases in the budget? Is that a defense-wide increase as well or does the Army have to bear that burden?
Mr. PARKER. Each and every one of the increases are handled on an instance-by-instance basis. As part of the deliberative process within the Department of Program Budgeting Cycle, we look at those. Thus far, the Army, while we have asked and in some cases we have told them that they would have to absorb some of the increases within the existing budget, in no instance has the Army ever put its individual money, if you will, Army total obligation authority into this program.
Mr. SAXTON. So all the money comes out of the defense-wide account.
Mr. PARKER. Indeed.
Mr. SAXTON. And the Army doesn't get tapped for it.
Mr. PARKER. The Army does not pay for it.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to follow up briefly on something I talked about and something Mr. Langevin addressed. When we talked about the Anniston Depot, it is operating safely, but I also understand it is operating on schedule. Is that accurate? You indicated that by 2007 we would have 97 percent of the risk eliminated and that the GB and VX rockets would be eliminated. Is that on schedule? Are we ahead of schedule? Are we behind schedule in Anniston?
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Mr. PARKER. Mr. Rogers, at this point in time we are ahead of schedule. We are doing better on M55 rocket disposal. We are moving nicely toward being able to start operations a little later this year with the projectile portion, the GB projectile portion of the stockpile. So Anniston is performing extremely well.
Mr. ROGERS. But now I look at this GAO extension, this deadline filing that we are talking about for the stockpile-wide. Are we going to be able to complete our mission at Anniston without the extension?
Mr. PARKER. Within the context of
Mr. ROGERS. The CWC requirement.
Mr. PARKER. Assuming that the department, in conjunction with the State Department, would go forward and seek the extension to 2012, we believe we will complete operations at Anniston well within that treaty deadline.
Mr. ROGERS. So even though we will have eliminated 97 percent of the risk to Anniston by 2007, we will need that additional time there to eliminate that remaining 3 percent of the risk?
Mr. PARKER. Yes. I think, as you are aware based on briefings to yourself and your staff, the mustard-filled munitions, of which Anniston has a rather significant quantity, really are very, very low risk.
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Mr. ROGERS. Right.
Mr. PARKER. Almost half of the munitions at Anniston are mustard-filled. The predominance of the risk to the community, to your community is that with the nerve agent munitions, which we will get rid of about the 2007 time frame, so we will eliminate the risk but there is still a very large quantity of munitions that will have to be processed through the plant.
Mr. ROGERS. And then going back to what Mr. Langevin just addressed, the stockpile-wide, are we not going to be able to hit the 45 percent ratio by 2007?
Mr. PARKER. Based on our ability to bring on three additional plants this year, as the facility at Newport, the facility at Umatilla and the facility at Pine Bluff, we are highly confident at 80 to 90 percent level of the ability to satisfy that December 2007 date for 45 percent.
Mr. ROGERS. And if we receive that extension to 2012 to hit the 100 percent level, do you feel confident that we will be able to achieve that target?
Mr. PARKER. That is much more of a challenge, it is much more problematic and it will be very dependent on what the overall out-year budgets are and how affordable they are. The final two sites, the Pueblo site that Mr. Hefley touched on and the Bluegrass site, are going to be pressing up very, very hard on 2012, and depending on how the overall budget and the availability of funding to accelerate those sites will determine whether or not we will be able to hit that 2012 mark.
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Mr. ROGERS. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WAKEFIELD. Mr. Rogers, let me just add one thing if I could to that, the question you had on the 45 percent. We went through that very deliberative process using the formal processing rates as well as looking at them on an individual basis, on a campaign basis by each one of the sites and statistics. We looked at that and we looked at it in confidence intervals and saying what is the greatest confidence that we could have in achieving that 45 percent? That is indeed why we picked the December 2007 deadline giving us the greatest confidence the U.S. will meet that deadline. That was a 90 percent confidence factor that we would make that date at that time.
As you pointed out, the facilities are running. As Mr. Parker has also indicated, the other ones need to come up online, but right now we still remain quite close to that confidence factor even with the recent look at itwhen I looked at it about 2 weeks ago, we still remain there. The 2012 deadline, as you heard Mr. Parker indicate about budgets and other things, you also heard about the technical challenges that are often experienced when you begin facilities and new technologies as well. Each of these are factors that enter into our success in achieving those end dates.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, as I understood Mr. Parker, it is more of a budget-driven concern than a technical concern.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WAKEFIELD. Any time we start new technologies and facilities, there is always technical challenges, and those are part and parcel to successful operations.
Mr. ROGERS. But do you see that as a dominant challenge of
Mr. WAKEFIELD. I see as just part of the overall challenge itself, not anything more dominant than the other but rather just part of the overall challenges that are there.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you.
Mr. DECKER. Mr. Rogers, may I make a comment, and I don't want to be the skunk at the party but I think that the optimism to reach the 45 percent in 2007 is if all the stars line up exactly right, that there are no challenges with the permitting that has occurred at different sites, that there are no more incidents at a site and that there are no unplanned requirements that have impact on any of the operational start-ups. And, unfortunately, we have seen that type of risk, these issues happen at different times, which means that the readership has to be forward-thinking forward-leaning, anticipating anything that could derail or stop the schedule, and that has not happened.
Secretary BOLTON. Well, let me be the anti-skunk here.
Mr. DECKER. Tomato juice. [Laughter.]
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Secretary BOLTON. The last time I appeared before this committee I think we were just starting Anniston. And so we had two going, we were just starting Anniston. Today, we have three. By the end of this year, we hope to have six. Mr. Decker is absolutely right, this is a challenge for the leadership to bring this off. I would highlight one example where we have gone to school on lessons learned to hopefully mitigate some of the concerns that we have.
For example, we talked about Newport and we talked about the challenges we had in Dayton. As a result of those lessons learned, we have spent a great deal of time taking the commander there, going to New Jersey and Delaware and talking to assistants, talking to the media, talking to virtually anyone he can find to explain to everyone what we are doing, what we are trying to do and so forth and working very closely with DuPont.
I think that is an example of what we are doing in terms of looking at lessons learned and making sure that we don't make the same mistake twice if indeed it was a mistake. The other is just taking lessons learned from Anniston, as Mr. Parker has already pointed out, and putting those into other plants, not only from the technical side but from the programmatic side and how we work with the contractor out there, how we work with the community, and I think that is helping us quite a bit.
And as Mr. Parker has already pointed out to your question on the schedule, we are ahead of schedule, and my hope is that once we get the plants up and get into the operation that we can get ahead of those schedules too.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do temper that with reality and the reality is looking at the past and realizing that we have significant challenges there. But we have got the right people at the plants, the communities are supportive and with your support and those of the chair and the Committee here, I think we can press forward and meet that date, the first 45 and the 31st of December 2007.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you. Well, that is why I would asked the question earlier in my line of questioning about the lessons learned, because I hope you were going to take care of the facilities because Anniston is a success, and I think that there have been a lot of challenges along the way but surely the more that we are doing this the better we are getting as we go along, and we don't step on the same rakes.
Secretary BOLTON. And I anticipate that Mr. Decker will keep my feet to the fire.
Mr. DECKER. I think the Congress will do that.
Mr. PARKER. One of the points you just touched on, Mr. Rogers, is in the area of lessons learned. As it turns out, we have the same basic operating contractor in the corporate sense, the Washington group who is currently operating very successfully Anniston and will operate Umatilla and Pine Bluff. So the ability to transfer lessons learned is facilitated because they are in the same corporate structure. And some of the challenges that you touched on, Mr. Decker, in the area of permitting and regulatory oversight, which have been a real problem, we have, I think, reached a very collaborative and productive operating relationship now with the Oregon regulators which up until recently has been a real issue. We have, I think, reached an operating procedure which really will facilitate the start-up of that facility and the operation of that facility later this year.
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The relationship in Arkansas has always been one of a very proactive relationship with the regulatory community, so we are optimistic that we will see higher productivity out of these plants than we have historically seen, but, as you have indicated, we will be watching it closely as will everyone else to assure that we are not lulling ourselves into a false sense of security or misplace optimism and misleading ourselves and potentially the Congress as well.
Mr. DECKER. Sir, if I could just comment, I think that the aspect of positive approach, and I think Mr. Parker and his leadership team are trying to do what is useful to accomplish this big goal, but we have seen indications that as you get closer to the operations phase, which really is what this is all about, the safe destruction and destroying the weapons, is that new requirements come in particularly through the CSEPP side that perhaps puts some impact on whether you startup on the schedule that you have indicated.
And I think that that is a serious issue that I would challenge the team to grapple with through the relationship with FEMA at the State and local level to better understand the practical implications of these new requirements and to assure that there is safety for the community but also the expeditious destruction of the stockpile. And I think that that is a phenomenon that is happening more and more and it impacts your schedule.
Mr. PARKER. Well, we did learn lessons beyond technical lessons at the start-up of prior facilities, ones in Utah and Alabama more recently, and in conjunction with FEMA we meet very regularly with the Oregon CSEPP community, I believe it is on a monthly basis, and we send senior level people out as well as having our local people that are in community continuously to better understand what the issues are, address those early.
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FEMA has done an absolutely excellent job of working with the community to get them to understand how to get their inputs in their requirements, rather, into the process so that they can be validated and they can be timely with the budget process, which has been a challenge. But FEMA has done an extraordinarily good job of working with the community. I think we are getting much better information much earlier so that have time to react. I should maybe rephrase that: We have an opportunity to be proactive rather than reactive in trying to address issues in the year of execution where everything gets bound up because the funding is not available, the time lines are not available, et cetera.
So will there be surprises? I am sure there will be, and we will be watching those, but we have attempted not to make the same old mistakes we have made in the past.
Mr. SAXTON. Anything further, Mr. Rogers? Thank you.
Mr. Decker, a couple of questions for you. I will address them to you first and then anybody else can chime in here. I understand that you havefirst of all, we are all interested in maximum protection. I understand that you have concerns about the issue of maximum protection, and I would just like to give you the opportunity to express those concerns.
Mr. DECKER. Sir, the term maximum protection I think has caused problems within the program because of the interpretation of what that means. And to give you a for instance, and Mr. Conklin will be able to discuss this in greater detail, I am sure, the CSEPP Program, the program that is outside the fence of the facilities to take care and protect the community in case there is an unfortunate event, was made up of a variety of different mechanisms, and these are benchmarked type items from emergency communications to stay-in-shelter kits and masks in case you have to do an egress.
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These benchmarks, which are standard throughout the program, used by the different States and the communities, is a mechanism to give protection to the community, to give them a sense of assurance that there will bethere are devices to help them in case of an incident. I believe what is happening is that there is an interpretation outside of the benchmarks in a more indirect way that then adds new cost to the program through the CSEPP side. And so my suggestion is, and I think that the program probably has looked at this but perhaps there might be a proactive mechanism, a forum some stakeholder forum, to discuss some of the practical implications of what the definition should mean.
For instance, I think that right now the boundaries on what that means are probably anyone's interpretation, and I think that there perhaps could be better discussion about that issue if we have a shared same goal, and that is the safe destruction of all the stockpile in a timely manner.
But I would ask Mr. Conklin or the other distinguished members here to comment on their sense of this issue. Is it an important issue? Should it be something resolved or should we just continue the way that we are?
Mr. CONKLIN. There is no question that the definition of maximum protection is an open-ended question, and there is no right line definition, if you will, of what that means. And by that I mean there is, for example, the acceptance of a 1 times 10 to the minus 6 risk or 10 to the minus 7 risk. There is no right line number that we have to use so that we do a validation of a requirement we can say, well, the risk is actually 10 to the minus 8, so you don't need to implement this kind of protective action or spend this money on this activity. We don't have that level of definition.
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There are some industry standards out there that the nuclear industry uses, for example, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for their facilities, that approaches about 10 to the minusabout 4.7 times 10 to the minus 7. We could come up with a definition but it would take a lot of debate from one State and the counties to another. There is no common acceptance, and at this point in time it may not be worth that extensive an effort. I think we have gotten to a point now where we have a much better understanding of what needs to be done to protect the communities, and I think we have got much greater buy-in from the communities and at the State level also on what needs to be done.
And I think that is reflected, for example, in the Alabama situation where we started working closely together on some of these activities, and the budget has dropped down considerably. A prime example would be the protection of special needs populations in those communities. At one point, the projected budget was about $67 million. It basically would have eaten up most of the annual funding for CSEPP for a year. But in working through that issue and working though the options that were available, we whittled it down to $6.3 milliona 90 percent plus reduction. Not that we can do that everywhere, mind you, but that was a good example of working together at the community, State and Federal level we were able to come up with a reasonable approach to projecting that particular population.
So I think we have made a lot of good headway, and I think if we keep going in the way we are going, we are going to do fine. I think what you see sometimes is that as the sites come close to becoming operational, there is a fear among the State and local folks that that is going to be the end of the CSEPP funding, that once that site goes operational we are going to walk away and they are not going to have the funding to maintain the level of preparedness. And so a lot of our effort right now is to convince them that that is not going to happen. It has not happened in Alabama, did not happen in the Utah and the other sites, it is not going to happen to the sites that are coming online.
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Mr. SAXTON. So what I hear you saying is that by imposing a single definition, you make it harder to work with the communities which express concern, and you try to work with them to make sure their concerns are addressed, and you need a flexible definition to do that?
Mr. CONKLIN. I believe so. And we are working on sort of a definition of functional equivalency such that the amount of activity off-sites for the public is commensurate with the level of risk that they are facing. And that is why it has the destruction of material takes place, that risk goes down and we can revisit the level of protection that needs to be provided and the funding that needs to support it.
Mr. SAXTON. Do you want to comment, Mr. Decker?
Mr. DECKER. I would only ask that I think in October of 2003 there was an $88 million shortfall, unfunded requirements, that came out of the program. And my concern is that in a comment that was to the distinguished member from Colorado was that money was taken from ACWA and moved forward to deal with the near-term situation and some of that near-term situation was these unfunded requirements that came out of the CSEPP area.
So you are taking money from the program and the program money and you are trying to do it in a smart way to deal with an unfunded requirement that in my view perhaps could be mitigated with some dialogue and discussion to see what the practical implications of a definition and what that means to these benchmarks and anything outside the benchmark.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To me, if you can save $1 million in the program, $1 million out of a $25 billion program, It is worth the dialogue to see if you can improve the process to get a better result.
Mr. SAXTON. What do you think?
Mr. CONKLIN. I think we can talkyou know, we can talk with the communities about a definition. I think you are not going to find a common thread among them as to what that level is going to be, and I think that could in the end actually result in delaying attention to some of the other issues we have got going on.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Let me go to a different issue since we solved that one. [Laughter.]
Mr. DECKER. Mr. Chairman, next time would you sit me someplace other than next to Mr. Conklin? [Laughter.]
Mr. SAXTON. We have received the cost numbers from the Department of Defense Inspector General (DOD IG) on the cost of disposal at the various disposal sites. We have the type of agent being disposed at each site, the method of destruction, the original tonnage that was at the site, the percent of the original stockpile that has been disposed of and the costs at each site. And the cost at each site you would expect it to vary. However, the delta in the variance raises some questions.
And I am sure you have got an explanation, but, for example, at, is it Tooele, Utah? Tooele. The cost per percent to destroy blister agent is $54.4 million, and at Bluegrass, Kentucky, the cost per percent of destroyed material is $1,198,000,000. So we go from $54.4 million in one case to $1.2 billion in the other. Now, that is probably not fair because I see we are destroying blister agent and that iswell, in both cases we are destroying blister agent.
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Now, let's just take these two for purposes of discussion. In Newport, we are neutralizing nerve agent, and it cost $305 million per percent, and we have destroyed 4 percent of the overall stockpile, right. At Bluegrass, we have neutralized blister agent and nerve agent, and it has cost us that famous number that I just mentioned, $1,198,000,000 per percent, and we have destroyed 2 percent. Okay. You get it. Could you explain this to us?
Secretary BOLTON. Well, I cannot explain it because I have not seen those numbers, and the sites that you have quoted we haven't done anything at those sites. Oh, they are estimates. Well, even so, I haven't seen the numbers.
Mr. SAXTON. Sorry, I stated it wrong. That was my fault.
Secretary BOLTON. I have not seen that report, I have not seen the estimates, I know nothing of the assumptions. However, if I were to speculate since we haven't started anything on those sites, it would be the same thing as going to any program where you have done all the development work, you have done no production yet, and you have spent lots of money, and someone says, ''The cost of doing anything there is whatever you have already spent.''
What I am trying to do and what I indicated, Mr. Chairman, to you and the members of the committee the last time is to establish some metrics not unlike the ones that are in that report, although I hope in the future far more frequently, where we would look at costs per ton disposed of materials at various sites along with the safety record. But I will justunless someone else has some information, I simply have not seen those figures.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. KLEIN. Mr. Chairman, one of the things that you will oftentimes find, for example, if you look at Tooele, there are a lot of tons at that site. If you look at Bluegrass, for example, there are not as many tons and there is also a much greater variety. So when you look at the total cost at each site, you have to look at how many tons are there. And so if you have a lot of tons, the cost per ton are expected to be less at these sites that have a lot.
Mr. SAXTON. That makes sense. We will provide you with this chart, and Gene did the arithmetic. [Laughter.]
Dr. KLEIN. Now we know why there is confusion. [Laughter.]
Mr. SAXTON. If we could give you these numbers and you, of course, can check with the IG. We would like you to get back to us with
Dr. KLEIN. Sure. We would be happy to.
Mr. SAXTON. It is kind of unfair of us to pop this question at you without letting you have an opportunity, so let's talk about this over some time and if you would get back to us with the rationale.
Dr. KLEIN. Will do.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you for that.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Rogers, do you have any further questions?
Mr. ROGERS. No. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. I think we have done what we came here to do this morning, so thank you for your participation. We appreciate your statements and your frank answers, and across the board, thank you.
[Whereupon, at 11:52 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]