Comments by Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation (AFORR) on November 2000 Draft ORNL Land and Facilities Plan
November 29, 2000
1. AFORR would like to compliment the authors for major
improvements in the year 2000 plan over the previous 1999 plan. The
addition of extensive, thorough documentation of the conservation values
and the present and future research uses of the lands of the Oak Ridge
Reservation (ORR) is a major improvement. This is an excellent step
toward documenting the multiple uses (current and future) of most of the
entire land base of the ORR. This documentation should prove invaluable
in future planning efforts.
2. AFORR also enthusiastically approves of the guidelines set forth in sections 2.3.1, especially the emphasis on clustering like uses, preserving clean areas, reusing disturbed areas, protecting natural and cultural resources, considering future generations, optimizing appropriate recreational use, and considering stakeholder inpu. We also strongly agree with Land Use Priorities set forth in 2.3.2, especially #2--"Preserve and protect land to meet the requirements of environmental research by ensuring that adequate areas within the ORR are protected and preserved for their biological and physical diversity"--and #3--"Preserve and protect land to meet the requirements of scientific and technical education by ensuring that suitable land is available for facilities and research areas needed to support educational opportunities on the ORR.".
3. AFORR does wish to point out that it remains unclear how stakeholder input will be included "up front" in the initial decision-making process with regard to land use changes. The process by which proposals for changes in land and facility use are approved is outlined in sections 2.3.4 and 2.3.5 and in Appendix D. However, there is description of how stakeholder input will be incorporated into the decisions of the ORNL Land and Facilities Use Committee (whether within or outside the ORNL developed area) or into subsequent decisions by DOE Oak Ridge Operations. While Appendix D does outline how 'tailored stakeholder' input will be requested, it does not clearly indicate at what stage in the decision-making process such input will be solicited. We stress that stakeholder input is most effective, and that it results in greater public acceptance of decisions, when stakeholders are involved in the initial phases of decision-making.
4. AFORR would like to express its appreciation to the planners of the Facilities Revitalization Project for devising an excellent plan and following a commendable planning process. The section (3.4) is particularly well-written also. We commend the planners for making maximum use of already disturbed land and for minimizing use of undisturbed land. We also commend them for actively seeking public comment on their plan.
5. Appendix D lists a number of 'identified' stakeholders. Perhaps this is intended as a partial list of 'examples.' However, a number of significant stakeholders are omitted, including our own organization! Besides AFORR, we think that Tennessee Conservation League and the Foundation for Global Sustainability and Oak Ridge Greenways should be listed under 'F. Other Organizations.' Also, the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) program should be included under category 'E' and the Tennessee Valley Authority should be included under 'D,' since TVA manages much of the shoreline that abuts DOE property along the Clinch River.