Citizens continue to advise post on environmental concerns
By Travis Edwards, Community Relations Director Special to Soundoff!
It was business as usual during the Fort Meade Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meeting March 29. The RAB discussed several topics including a records review for military munitions that may have been used on post for training purposes many years ago. They also examined a draft report on possible groundwater contamination at the on-post closed sanitary landfill.
"The RAB has proven to be a valuable asset to the installation as a way to share important environmental issues with the community," said Gary Zolyak, Fort Meade's environmental lawyer. "The RAB is also a very good resource for the command as it provides another opportunity for feedback on restoration and development programs."
The RAB, established at Fort Meade in 1995, brings together the installation's Environmental Division with representatives from state and federal regulatory agencies, community leaders and interested citizens. Together, they review and share information, as well as receive briefings on issues on the horizon such as potential BRAC development and the related local impact.
The RAB is led by two co-chairs: the Fort Meade program manager for environmental restoration and a community representative elected by the RAB members. Membership in the RAB is open to anyone who lives in, owns property in, or serves the local communities around Fort Meade.
"The RAB is very important because it gives an objective view and a voice to those who might not speak out," said Zoe Draughon, RAB co-chair.
The RAB meets approximately six times a year.
"The RAB really is an important piece in the puzzle of developing effective strategies for future restoration and development on Fort Meade," Zolyak said.
Members often review and provide comment on proposed plans, technical reports, and other documents. The RAB will continue to meet until such time as they themselves determine that the cleanup has progressed to the point that they are no longer needed.
According the Zolyak, the RAB has addressed several issues since its inception that include groundwater contamination, removal of unexploded ordnance, range cleanup and assisting in selecting the type of technology to be used to collect and vent methane gas being generated from an old landfill on-post.
"The installation's environmental staff look for, locate and fix environmental issues on Fort Meade," Zolyak said. "The RAB helps considerably with strategy development and employment of methods to continue improving the installation's environmental impact to its residents and the local community."
Editor's note: The next Fort Meade RAB meeting is 7 p.m. May 17. For more information contact the installation's Environmental Division at 301-677-9648.
Col. Brian P. Foley
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