The Department of the Air Force and F.E. Warren Air Force Base leaders are asking community members for input to determine if there is interest in establishing a local environmental restoration advisory board.
Restoration Advisory Boards, or RABs, provide a forum for two-way communication between the community and Air Force officials about environmental work being conducted on and around the installation. The boards offer stakeholders access to the environmental restoration process and give members opportunities to review project progress and provide comments to the installation’s decision makers concerning environmental restoration matters.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is soliciting input as part of a broad and aggressive effort to reach deeply into all segments of the community to ensure every voice is to be heard.
“Even though there is no concern of a threat to the local public, we want to ensure that everyone in the Cheyenne community has a voice in these matters,” said Col. Catherine Barrington, 90th Missile Wing commander. “We want to ensure the community knows that our stewardship of the base and land is very important priority for the base and ensuring that community has a voice in the process is crucial to that goal.”
The latest push for RAB participation and increased community input comes as Air Force officials continue to pledge their commitment to transparency in all elements of the environmental cleanup mission. Nancy Balkus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Environment, Safety, Infrastructure), affirmed this commitment Aug. 1, 2022, during testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“While the cleanup program is both legally and technically complex, its underlying purpose is simple: to address the releases attributable to the Air Force in a manner that transparently protects the American people,” she said. “We emphasize maximizing transparency, public participation, and collaboration in all our cleanup activities.”
F.E. Warren has been engaged in environmental restoration efforts stemming from contamination from Trichloroethylene; Arsenic; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene (BTEX); as well as per-Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs) for years at several locations on base, according to Mr. Ernesto Perez, F.E. Warren Base Environmental Restoration Program Manager. However, most of the chemical contamination is confined to the installation. Irrespective of the minimal danger, though, the Air Force wants to ensure that the concerns of local communities are heard, which is driving these assessments to gauge interest in joining a RAB.
“We will solicit interest from the Cheyenne community to participate in a Restoration Advisory Board until April 30 and if enough interest exists, we will restart the board,” said Perez. “This will allow the base and the community to come together and discuss all environmental efforts within the entire environmental restoration program and give community members the chance to provide input to the cleanup process.”
Those interested in learning more about the F.E. Warren AFB RAB are asked to contact Ron Coringrato, RAB Project Manager at 720-381-5593 or email@example.com or visit www.afcec.af.mil and click on the Restoration Advisory Board icon located in the bottom right corner of the page. Officials are gathering RAB Interest Assessment data throughout the spring and early summer.