Energy Department Appoints Local 689 President to Site Advisory Board

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management appointed Local 689 President Herman Potter to a two-year term on the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board.

The advisory board consists of stakeholders in the area who reflect a diversity of viewpoints regarding the Portsmouth site.

The board is involved in cleanup decisions at the former gaseous diffusion plant located a few miles east of Piketon, and provides DOE officials with advice, information and recommendations on issues affecting the Environmental Management program at Portsmouth.

Some of these issues include cleanup standards and environmental restoration, waste management and disposition, and future land use and long-term stewardship.

Pictured: Local 689 President Herman Potter, 2014 USW Atomic Energy Workers Council meeting in Erwin, Tenn.

Potter, who began his term this March, said the board advises on the future of the site, which is important to the local because it’s interested in reindustrialization once the cleanup is finished.

He said the board could impact more work coming to the site and health and safety protections for workers and the community.

Potter brings to the board onsite experience and years of navigating DOE issues.

“I thought by being on the board I may be able to navigate through all the hurdles that may be present to get things done for the future of the Portsmouth site,” he said. “I would like to see a formal declaration that all decontaminate and decommission activities focus on recycling and reindustrialization as part of DOE’s mission for the cleanup project.”

While DOE’s Office of Environmental Management takes the board’s recommendations seriously, Potter said the board, the local and the international union need to educate the political delegations about the importance of adopting these items so they can encourage DOE to accept them.

Potter’s term ends June 30, 2023.

Besides the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board, there are eight others across the country, including the USW-represented facilities at Hanford, Wash., Idaho Falls, Idaho, Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky.

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