Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson and City Councilman Chuck Hope meet with David Klaus, the U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Management & Performance, at DOE Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Oak Ridge City Councilman Chuck Hope and City Manager Mark Watson recently traveled to Washington, DC to attend a conference sponsored by the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA). The ECA is the membership organization of local governments that host or are located near U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites. The ECA supported attendance at the meeting with travel grants to the participants.

The two-day conference focused on DOE’s Environmental Management program. DOE staff made presentations on topics such as Waste Disposition, Accomplishments in the Cleanup Mission, FY17 Budget Planning, and a View from the Secretary’s Office.

Additional sessions were held on the Local Government Role in Cleanup Agreements, and Working with Local Communities to Improve Contracting. Councilman Hope facilitated a session on FY17 Appropriations and Implications for DOE Cleanup, while Mr. Watson was a panelist in a session on the Future of DOE Contracting.

“The conference was very informative, particularly when you hear what’s happening at the DOE Headquarters level and from local officials at the other major DOE sites,” said Councilman Hope. “These discussions help provide perspective on the many assets we have in Oak Ridge, but also some of the challenges we face here and across the complex, particularly when budgets are tight.”

Mr. Watson added, “We were able to have some good conversations with DOE and National Nuclear Security Administration staff about City of Oak Ridge issues. We spoke about the need to continue modernizing our infrastructure, and to enhance our housing stock to attract more of DOE’s and contractor employees to live in the community in which they work. We were also pleased to see the high levels of interest in the ongoing implementation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.”

Other DOE communities represented at the conference include Aiken, South Carolina; Richland, Washington; Carlsbad, New Mexico; Idaho Falls, Idaho, Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Kennewick, Washington.

For more information about the City of Oak Ridge, please visit the website at www.oakridgetn.gov.
Media contact: Nick Sisco (865) 425-3546 or nsisco@oakridgetn.gov.