2021 Winter Meeting of the Federal Facilities Task Force

Virtual Meeting | January 13 – 14, 2021

The National Governors Association hosted the Federal Facilities Task Force (FFTF) Winter Meeting from January 13-14, 2021, via remote Zoom conference. The NGA Federal Facilities Task Force (FFTF) convenes Governor-appointed designees from twelve states affected by the ongoing cleanup of sites used in the production, testing, and assembly of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. The FFTF works with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) officials to examine critical technical, policy, and budget issues and improve coordination of major program decisions on a broad range of topics related to radioactive materials and waste. The twelve states participating in FFTF include: Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington.

This meeting included internal states-only discussions on recent and ongoing events and issues from around the nuclear weapons waste cleanup complex, with a focus on issues of common interest and best practices replicable by sites across the complex. The meeting also featured expert speakers from the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) on important cleanup status updates and opportunities for improving effective state-DOE collaboration on issue resolution and emergency management.



January 13, 2021

Welcome and Introductions | 12:00 – 12:15 pm EST

  • Dan Lauf, Program Director, NGA Center for Best Practices
  • Bevin Buchheister, Senior Policy Analyst, NGA Center for Best Practices

Update on Events and Issues Since Last Meeting |12:15 – 1:00 pm EST | Presentation

  • Andy Chinn, Associate, Ross Strategic
  • Mario Colón, Research Associate, Ross Strategic

Roundtable on State-Specific Issues | 12:15 – 1:00 pm EST

Members of the FFTF will have an opportunity to briefly share the latest news and updates from their state (up to four minutes per state). Topics for discussion could include, but are not limited to:

  • Cross-cutting issues that impact all sites
  • Implication of COVID-19 on cleanup operations
  • Site budgets
  • Waste treatment, disposition and milestones
  • Compliance issues and disputes
  • State-federal communications and coordination

Moderator: Timothy Schoonhoven, Policy Analyst, NGA Center for Best Practices

Debrief – Reactions from Fall Intergovernmental Meeting | 2:45 – 3:15 pm EST

This session, a group discussion among the FFTF, is an opportunity to provide feedback on the Fall Intergovernmental Meeting and to discuss key takeaways and potential follow-up items that are important to the FFTF.

Moderator: Bevin Buchheister, NGA Center

Connecting with the New Administration |3:15 – 4:00 pm EST

In this session, the FFTF will discuss priorities for engagement with the new administration and new EM leadership.

Moderator: Dan Lauf, NGA Center

January 14, 2021

Welcome and Introductions | 12:00 – 12:15pm

  • Dan Lauf, Program Director, NGA Center for Best Practices
  • Beth Lisann, Intergovernmental Program Manager, DOE-EM

Status Update on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) | 12:15 – 1:00 pm EST | Presentation

DOE will update the FFTF on current and planned cleanup activities at WIPP, including infrastructure upgrades, shipping schedules and outlook, waste placement activities and challenges and adjustments to waste disposition operations from COVID-19. The FFTF and DOE will also consider WIPP capacity scenarios related to changes in interpretation of the high level waste definition and proposed pit production as detailed in recent U.S. Government Accountability Office and National Academies of Sciences reports and DOE’s report to congress on high level waste.

Speaker: Reinhard Knerr, Manager, Carlsbad Field Office, DOE-EM
Moderator: Timothy Schoonhoven, NGA Center

Improving State-DOE EM Collaboration | 1:00 – 2:15 pm EST

Leaders from DOE-EM will provide a brief update on recent agency activities and give an overview of complex-wide practices and strategies used to engage with states. A group discussion will follow focused on how to continuously improve working relationships between states and DOE through improved, transparent staff communication, open collaboration, and other strategies. The discussion will identify past challenges and successes and focus on opportunities for improving communication and collaboration between states and DOE-EM to enhance cleanup efforts.


  • Todd Shrader, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOE-EM
  • Rob Boehlecke, Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management Nevada Program

Discussion Questions:

  • What institutional processes and ad hoc strategies does DOE EM use to engage with states and build good working relationships?
  • What procedures or processes are in place for states or DOE-EM to resolve disagreements before they escalate into formal disputes?
  • What were the successful elements of these processes and how can they be replicated at other sites?
  • How can states work with DOE-EM prior to emergencies to make sure they are kept informed and included in DOE-EM message crafting?

Moderator: Bevin Buchheister, NGA Center

FFTF Planning for Next Year | 2:45 – 3:30 pm EST

The group will discuss options for the Spring Meeting of the FFTF and priorities for the FFTF to work on during 2021. For example:

  • Communications case studies white paper
  • Waste disposition planning
  • Cleanup prioritization considering the EM Vision and anticipated federal budget

Moderators: Dan Lauf and Bevin Buchheister, NGA Center