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ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY, AND HEALTH
STATEMENT OF MARY L. WALKER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ENVI
RONMENT, SAFETY, AND HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Chairman HATFIELD. This will be the first appearance of the new Assistant Secretary, Mary L. Walker, who comes to this position which she now occupies with great qualification and distinction, having been educated at UCLA and Boston University. She has served as an attorney for Southern Pacific Transportation Co. and with a very outstanding law firm in Los Angeles specializing in land use and environmental law.
She has been selected to assist the Attorney General of the United States in litigation of some 2,500 cases involving public land and other such matters involving the environment. She then moved over to the Interior Department, where she was Deputy Solicitor and one who, again, supervised other lawyers in areas of her expertise. Following her service at Interior she moved to the Department of Energy, first as a special consultant to the Secretary of Energy and now in this particular role, where she has advisory responsibilities over 260 nuclear reactors and some facilities. She is, indeed, eminently qualified, and we are happy to welcome her here today.
Your testimony will be placed in the record in full. If you wish to make a statement highlighting your testimony, we would be happy to hear it.
I am pleased to be here today to discuss with you the Department's fiscal budget request for 1987 for the environment, safety, and health programs.
This program, including the Secretary's new initiatives in the form of the environmental survey and the technical safety appraisals and some other measures which accompany them, represent the Secretary's per sonal commitment to the environment and the safety of our workers and the public. The 1987 budget request is $76.1 million, which represents a $29.2 million increase over the fiscal 1986 level. This increase is principally for beginning work on the environmental survey, which we are proposing to fund at the level of $30 million for fiscal 1987.
I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. (The statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF MARY L. WALKER
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to be here today
NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY PLAN AND SAFE, ENVIRONMENTALLY
SOUND OPERATION OF DOE ACTIVITIES
The overall goal of our national energy policy is to foster an adequate supply of energy at reasonable costs. The two strategies to achieve this goal are (1) to promote a balanced and mixed energy resource system and (2) to minimize federal control and involvement in energy markets while maintaining public health and safety and environmental quality. In addition, the Department is responsible for the manufacturing of nuclear weapons for national defense purposes. It is the stated policy of the Secretary of Energy to conduct all of the Department's operations in an environmentally safe and sound manner. Protection of the environment and the public are of paramount concern and importance to the Secretary and the Department.
GOAL OF OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY AND HEALTH
The goal of the Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) Program is to:
o assure conformance of the Department's activities with all applicable
environmental laws and regulations and assure that the health and safety
of workers and the public are protected;
o assure that national environmental protection goals are incorporated into
the formulation and implementation of energy policy and programs;
o assure that environmental, safety and quality assurance concerns are
identified, prioritized and addressed through corrective and remedial actions, and areas of environmental and safety risk are reduced to levels
as low as practical;
o develop policy options for the Department on the effects of National
environmental policy and regulations on U.S. energy industries and energy supply and demand; and
provide liaison with other federal agencies, such as EPA, concerning regulatory efforts and specific actions of those agencies that may
have an impact on DOE operations.
PRINCIPAL STATUTORY AUTHORITY
As its principal basis in law, the Environment, Safety and Health program responds directly to 19 statutory requirements which are listed and briefly
summarized in our FY 1987 budget submission.
ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY AND HEALTH RECORD
Among the primary objectives of the ES&H program are the assurance of the safety and health of the public and the quality of the environment, the protection of Government properties against accidental loss and damage, and the assurance of safe and healthful work places and conditions of employment for both DOE and contractor employees at approximately 225 industrial and research sites across the United States involving both nuclear and non-nuclear opera
The vital interest that the Department places on its safety and health
program, and the positive results realized from that program are best
illustrated by comparisons with the private sector. The following is a
comparison summary of our FY 1985 safety and health record:
O DOE's fatality rate of 1.2 deaths per 100,000 worker-years is
approximately 10 percent of the private sector 1980-1984 average
fatality rate reported by the National Safety Council.
DOE's recordable injury/illness rate of 2.2 cases per 200,000 work
hours is 33 percent of the private sector average rate for 1980-
O DOE's property loss rate of 0.44 cents per $100 property valuation is
about 17 percent of the private sector experience rate.
O DOE's vehicle accident rate of 4.0 accidents per million vehicle miles
is about 21 percent of the National Safety Council's five-year statis
. tical average for 1980-84.
Without exception, for each year since its creation, the Department has
carried out its operational missions with a safety and health record that is
at least two-to-three times better with respect to fatalities, injuries, and
illnesses, and more than ten times better with respect to property protection, than that of the private sector.
The increasingly complex and dynamic situation regarding environmental laws
and regulations has required us to reevaluate our environmental programs.
Some of our facilities have been in use for nearly 40 years and many of the
environmental problems we are finding at DOE facilities represent a "legacy of the past," from activities conducted in a different atmosphere and under
different standards than are applied for today's more sophisticated and
highly publicized environmental and safety criteria. What was acceptable in
1945 is not acceptable in 1986.
NEW INITIATIVES IN ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY AND HEALTH
On September 18, 1985, Secretary Herrington announced a series of initiatives
to strengthen the environment, safety and health function within the
Department of Energy. These new initiatives are the result of a thorough
review of the Department's environment, safety and health function by ES&H
and senior management of the Department.
O first, oversight responsibility for the environment, safety and health
function in the Department has been consolidated and upgraded under the new Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health. ES&H is now
integrally involved in the operation of the Department at all levels,
is directly overseeing the environmental and safety aspects of the
Department's ongoing operations and necessary corrective actions, and is
more integrally involved in decisions affecting those operations.
Second, ES&H will conduct a baseline Environmental Survey of all DOE
facilities to identify Department-wide existing environmental problems