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BUILDING COLLABORATING STAKEHOLDER NETWORKS, PUBLIC PARTICIPATION, COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, RISK COMMUNICATION

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) can help a client in developing and managing relationships with their stakeholders and the public by designing and carrying out:

  • Public participation programs in accord with IAP2 (International Association for Public Public Participation) values and standard practices;
  • Standard government community involvement programs (different agencies and documents still use different terms, e.g., public participation, community relations, etc.) that comply with applicable legal, regulatory, and standard guidance documents (e.g., EPA, USACE, GSA);

GWE’s approach for building collaborating networks is compatible with, and enhances the value of, standard government ‘2-way communication’ community involvement programs.

GWE can design and conduct standard government community involvement programs to increase the potential for collaboration with stakeholders and decrease the potential for costly conflicts.  GWE does this by designing the effort strategically at the outset and making only minor enhancements in standard government templates.


STANDARD COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT PROGRAMS

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Assessment of EPA’s Libby Asbestos Superfund Site Community Involvement Program

George Weber, Inc. Environment (GWE) recently completed an assessment of the Region 8 Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Community Involvement Program (CI Program) at the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site, Montana.

The general purposes of the assessment were to:

  • Develop a better understanding of the site and EPA’s current involvement with the community; and
  • Provide EPA with recommendations potentially improving its CI Program.

EPA had GWE do the assessment because it recognized that collaborative relationships with stakeholders are helpful, if not required, for achieving its responsibilities effectively and efficiently.

View from the Libby screening plant (Courtesy (ATSDR)

GWE developed criteria providing the basis for the assessment comprised of values, principles, and best practices drawn from public participation, risk communication, EPA Superfund Community Involvement guidance documents, collaborative networks, and other related fields.  The assessment used a classic typology of citizen involvement to characterize the CI Program and provide EPA with a strategic road-map for improving it, and relied on cutting-edge communication concepts and best practices.

GWE found that the EPA Libby CI Program generally exceeds minimum Superfund CI guidance requirements and recommendations.  However, potentially EPA could improve CI Program effectiveness and efficiency in four general areas:

  • Using current risk communications principles and best practices, in addition to the older ‘2-way Communication’ approach that it has been using.
  • Determining and documenting current perceptions of a ‘representative’ sample of stakeholders that relate to their potential to collaborate in the remediation effort — and particularly about how these stakeholders perceive EPA’s trustworthiness, credibility, and competence.
  • Developing a structure and process for collaborative problem-solving and decision-making among a ‘representative’ group of stakeholders and EPA, in addition to the current forums that are designed for EPA to inform and consult with stakeholders that may not achieve the value of ‘representativeness’.
  • Developing EPA Libby Team capacities for developing strategic and implementation plans, and preserving institutional memory over time and through changing staff.

GWE made action recommendations consisting of an over-arching strategy and three sets of tactical actions for implementing the strategy for EPA to consider:

  • Adopt a strategy framing its approach for involving Libby stakeholders as a ‘collaborating network’.
  • Determine, document, and analyze the perceptions of a ‘representative’ sample of stakeholders to collaborate in problem-solving and decision-making in order to complete the remediation effectively and efficiently while preserving EPA’s legal responsibility for final decision-making.
  • Develop EPA’s internal capacities for strategically planning, then implementing full stakeholder engagement by training the EPA Libby Team in the ‘collaborating network’ framework; developing mechanisms for preserving institutional memory of Libby stakeholders, their relationships, and how these develop over time; and improv
    Libby, Montana Overlook
    ing staff capacities for developing strategic and implementation plans.

Products:

To download the Executive Summary of the Final Technical Memorandum for the assessment, click here.

Download Adobe® Reader®.

To request an electronic copy of the final report in PDF file format, please click here.

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FUDS Pueblo Ranges, Colorado: Interim Risk  Management Plan: Community Involvement Plan

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) is providing community involvement support to develop the Community Involvement Plan (CIP) of the Interim Risk Management Plan (IRMP) for three Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) in Southeast Colorado.

GWE is responsible for supporting standard U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and EPA CERCLA community involvement activities, primarily community interviews, to identify:

  • Major public concerns and perceptions regarding the sties and potential future management and remediation; and
  • Means for developing effective ‘2-way communication’ among the agencies and stakeholders.
    Pueblo FUDS IRMP-CIP Sites

The results are being used by Versar Inc., a global project management company and the prime contractor, to provide the basis for their design of the CIP and IRMP in order to protect the public until the USACE can fully investigate the sites and address potential hazards that may remain.

The sites are the former Pueblo Precision Bombing Range (PPBR1) in southeast Pueblo County, Pueblo Air-to- Ground Gunnery Range (PAGGR) in west central Otero County, and Pueblo Precision Bombing Range 2 (PPBR2) in south central Otero County.  The plans are being developed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and CERCLA Program, Region 8 Environmental Protection Agency.

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Environmental Assessment Office Building Construction for Federal Bureau of Investigation, Denver Division Office, Denver, Colorado

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) supported development of a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment (EA) for development of a new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) facility in Denver, Colorado.  GWE responsibilities included the scoping, community relations, and socioeconomic assessment portions of the effort for the U.S. Government Services Administration (GSA).

Of note, the candidate site for the FBI facility is located within the decommissioned Stapleton International Airport. The site is a Brownfield redevelopment of national prominence, being the largest urban infill and the first urban airport redevelopment in the United States. The City of Denver has planned the redevelopment to be a model sustainable ‘green’ community, integrated with the surrounding neighborhoods and providing a source of employment, housing, and open space for the metropolitan area.

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Feasibility Study and Record of Decision, Vasquez Boulevard/I-70 Superfund Site Operable Unit 3 Argo Smelter

George Weber, Inc. Environment (GWE) supported development of a Feasibility Study and Record of Decision (FS/ROD) for the Vasquez Boulevard/I-70 Superfund Site (VB-I70), Operable Unit 3, Argo Smelter.  GWE responsibilities includeg conducting the community relations portion of the project — primarily identifying community leaders and other stakeholders in the site, contacting them regarding site issues and clean-up alternatives, and planning, conducting, and facilitating the required public hearing.  This work continued and built on GWE’s previous projects assessing VB-I70 stakeholders and planning and facilitating meetings of the Working Group for the soils clean-up in residential neighborhoods throughout the entire VB-I70 site.

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APPLICATIONS OF GWE’S APPROACH FOR DEVELOPING COLLABORATING NETWORKS OF STAKEHOLDERS

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Applying GWE Approach to an Urban Superfund Site – Vasquez Boulevard/Interstate- 70 Lead and Arsenic Clean-up

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) applied its approach for building collaborating networks among stakeholders in the Vasquez Boulevard/Interstate-70 (VB-I70) Superfund Site Lead and Arsenic Clean-up for the CERCLA Program, Region 8 EPA .

Initially, GWE conducted the stakeholder identification, assessment, and strategic planning phases of the approach.  The purpose of the assessment was to:

  • Identify influential community leaders and organizations in the varied communities within the Program Site that EPA had not identified already; and
  • Develop a strategic action plan for obtaining the support and involvement of community leaders in Program implementation in order to obtain full participation of Site residents, while avoiding existing and potential conflicts among the different leaders, communities, and groups within the Site.

A second purpose of the EPA Site Program Manager was for the assessment to provide an example of a strategic analytical approach for developing collaboration among stakeholders that could be used synergistically with the standard EPA ‘2-Way Communication’ Community Relations approach.  He hoped to benefit other programs and communities where EPA and others undertake efforts intended to improve environmental quality, and where collaboration is crucial to success.

The VB-I70 Site is located in northeast Denver, and has been characterized as an Environmental Justice site because the community is predominantly low income, minority (Hispanic and Black), and disproportionately affected by environmental impacts from many sources including industry, other Superfund sites, and major transportation corridors.

EPA’s VB-I70 Program was comprised of three components:

  • Sampling the soil of residential properties for lead and arsenic to find out if the levels are high enough to affect residents’ health, and particularly that of children;
  • Removing and replacing soil and landscaping at all properties that have levels of arsenic and lead higher than CERCLA standards; and
  • Developing and conducting a unique Community Health Program (CHP) for educating neighborhood residents about the lead and arsenic health issues, evaluating lead hazards in the home, and testing young children to see if they have been exposed to lead and arsenic.

EPA  worked collaboratively with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, City of Denver, Northeast Denver Housing, and several neighborhood organizations in problem-solving and decision-making regarding how to carry out the program.

The study identified the perceptions of the stakeholders who participated in the assessment and provided insights regarding:

  • Potential ‘barriers’ to Program implementation (approximately 50);
  • Positive perceptions about Program implementation (approximately 20);
  • ‘Actions’ potentially addressing ‘barriers’ or otherwise improving Program implementation (approximately 54);
  • Potentially influential stakeholders (44 organizations and 52 individuals identified); and
  • Stakeholders perceived potentially to hold a position of leadership, centrality, and/or ‘bridge’ among other stakeholders in the Program (19 identified).

The analysis developed three sets of insights centering on:

  • Barriers and actions: Many issues were resolved by GWE working with the EPA Site Program Manager and stakeholders during the assessment process.  This included resolving a complaint citizen leaders had been  planning to take to Colorado’s Congressional delegation regarding the quality of pubic participation up to this point in designing the CHP.  Resolution of citizens’ concerns spared EPA from a potentially time consuming and project delaying ‘Congressional’ and enabled final development and implementation of the CHP.
  • Stakeholders: The assessment identified 15 organizational and 28 individual stakeholders to involve in the clean-up in addition to those the EPA Community Involvement Plan (CIP) and Community Health Program response identified previously.  In addition, the assessment found that stakeholder representation in the clean-up community involvement process had decreased over time.  GWE, working with the Site Manager, was able to resolve conflicts among several critical stakeholders and obtain their renewed collaboration in the subsequent phase of the project.
  • Potential for continuing tension and conflict were present in the implementation process and likely would continue because of seven significant sets of factors discussed in the final report.

GWE provided the findings and presented the analysis to the EPA and State of Colorado Program Mangers, and the staff of other agencies supporting the Program.  The presentation and final report present the alternatives GWE recommended in general summary form.  GWE asked Program Managers to consider the strategic alternatives first, then the specific tactical alternatives.  He informed them that the tactical recommendations could be supplemented and refined as appropriate once they made a decision regarding the strategic approach they preferred.

GWE subsequently performed grantsmanship securing approximately $300,000 for the Department of Environmental Health, City of Denver to institute institutional controls at the site, and to develop a program evaluation and guidebook for the CHP.  EPA intended the latter to enable stakeholders in other contaminated settings nationally to develop a CHP.

Products:

Download Adobe® Reader®.
Executive summary
Final presentation
Final presentation

To request an electronic copy of the final report in PDF file format, please click here.

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Applying GWE Approach to Developing Program Initiatives: Colorado Water Quality Data

Weber adapted the stakeholder mobilization model to assess potentially sensitive political, management, and technical issues related to a major water quality data initiative the Water Quality Program, Colorado Geologic Survey (CGS) was considering. The study process identified potential barriers and political conflict, primarily with the Water Quality Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, that could occur if the initiative were launched as originally conceived.  Based on Weber’s assessment, the CGS modified the initiative, and other agencies, whose lack of opposition and positive support were critical, supported and cooperated with the revised initiative to produce a Directory of Colorado Water Quality Data.

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Applying GWE Approach on a Watershed Basis: Cache la Poudre (Colorado and Wyoming) Water Quality

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) applied its process for identifying stakeholders and assessing their potential for forming a collaborating network to address water quality issues within the Cache la Poudre (CLP) watershed.  GWE developed funding for the effort from nine (9) different major stakeholders including municipal and special district drinking and waste water utilities, regional water developer, regional water quality association, counties, and environmental organizations.

The purpose of the study was to:

  • Identify the stakeholders that other stakeholders perceived as indispensable to potential future action to protect CLP water quality;
  • Assess stakeholders’ potential to mobilize into a collaborating network to enhance and protect CLP water quality; and
  • Develop and recommend a strategic plan for developing and managing the collaborating network of stakeholders.

The study addressed ‘water quality’ comprehensively, and the entire CLP watershed and areas contributing water to it located outside the natural watershed boundaries (i.e., trans-basin diversions).

At the time GWE conducted the assessment, no comprehensive network or association of water quality stakeholders was active in the CLP watershed.  Several of the Project Sponsors hoped that this study would provide a foundation and strategy for facilitating the development of this type of organization.

Cache la Poudre Watershed

Cache la Poudre Watershed: Colorado and Wyoming

Forty-one (41) of the seventy-five (75) sample stakeholders Project Sponsors chose to provide their concerns and views participated fully in the study process.  They identified more than:

  • Forty (40) CLP water quality problems and 10 opportunities;
  • One hundred forty (140) actions that they would like stakeholders to consider taking addressing these issues; and
  • Three hundred nineteen (319) stakeholder types, organizations, programs, and individuals as ‘indispensable’ to potential future actions addressing the CLP water quality issues they identified.

The study explored the perceptions of study participants concerning a number of other factors potentially important to future mobilization, including their ‘interdependence’, ‘benefits vs. costs’ of cooperation, commitment, threats posed by potential mobilization, mission, and past and current conflicts and collaborations.

At the conclusion of the final presentation, the participating representatives agreed that collaborative action by stakeholders was needed to protect CLP water quality.  Consistent with the Project’s first ‘critical strategic action recommendation’ – ‘Take the Lead’ — the representatives decided to present the Project’s summary products to their respective management and request an explicit decision regarding:

  • Should their organization continue to act to achieve this goal? And if ‘Yes’ —
  • What should be the priority and commitment of the organization to achieving it?

The following organizations sponsored the Project:

  • City of Fort Collins;
  • City of Greeley;
  • Friends of the Poudre;
  • Larimer County;
  • Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District;
  • North Front Range Water Quality Planning Association;
  • South Fort Collins Sanitation District;
  • Tri-Districts Water District; and
  • Weld County.

Products:

Download Adobe® Reader®.
Executive summary
Final presentation
Final presentation
Appendices B and C (The Cache la Poudre water quality ‘issues’ and ‘desired actions’ stakeholders participating in the study identified)

To request an electronic copy of the final report in PDF file format, please click here.

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Applying GWE Approach to Source of Drinking  Water: Upper Cache la Poudre and Trans-basin  Diversions

Weber applied his approach for developing collaborating networks of stakeholders to the issue of protecting the quality of the Cache la Poudre (CLP) source of drinking water for the Fort Collins and Greeley, Colorado utilities.  Weber developed funding for the project from the Colorado Governor’s Office, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the two municipal drinking water utilities.  The study was a follow-up to the National Pilot Source Water Assessment of the Upper Cache la Poudre Mainstem.

The study identified 59 organizations and 49 individuals that participating stakeholders perceived as indispensable to protecting source water quality.

Generally, stakeholders participating in the study process shared the concern that the potential for water quality problems to occur was strong because of the increasing intensity of human activity in the watershed.  However, at that point in time no data showed that water quality degradation had occurred yet.

Responding stakeholders did identify one problem as certain — temporary contamination of CLP water resources caused by accidental spills, particularly from State Highway 14 paralleling the river.  Many respondents questioned if current management capacities and practices were sufficient for preserving the currently high quality of CLP source water in the face of the intensifying potential threats.

George Weber

Weber Discussing the Study During Field Tour for CLP Source Water Quality Stakeholders

In general terms, responding stakeholders wanted to take three overarching strategic actions:

  • Execute public agency missions and activities rigorously and effectively to protect source water quality;
  • Conduct a forum for stakeholders to become informed about what other agencies are doing, and discuss how to protect source water quality effectively; and
  • Conduct outreach and education regarding the range of practices and behaviors necessary for protecting source water quality for ‘permanent’ and ‘temporary’ residents, owners, and users of the source water area and its resources.

The study concluded that, overall, there appears to be sufficient factors present to motivate stakeholders to at least reach out to additional stakeholders and to begin discussing the source water quality issues that those participating in this study have identified.  Weber developed specific alternatives for achieving four general strategic actions.  The alternatives ranged in intensity and the resources required to carry them out.  One alternative would have enabled the Project Sponsors to begin immediately with only minimal investment of staff time.

Example of How Study Process Itself Can Begin Solving Problems

The certain problem of temporary contamination of CLP water resources caused by accidental spills provides an example of how the stakeholder assessment process alone can begin to fix some problems as they are identified.  During an interview in the second expanded phase of this study, one respondent noted a weakness in the current emergency notification and response process of his organization for spills on the highway.  He made the required changes in emergency response procedures at the organization’s board meeting that week.

Products:

Download Adobe® Reader®.
Executive summary

To request an electronic copy of the final report in PDF file format, please click here.

Cache la Poudre Source Water Quality Stakeholders Break for Lunch During 6/8/99 Field Tour

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Colorado Communities Guide to Wellhead Protection (WHP)

Weber developed a detailed planning process for developing community WHP plans for the Water Quality Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CWQCD).  Weber worked with CWQCD to secure funding for the project from the Non-point Source Program, Region 8 EPA.

The planning process consists of two tracks. One involves the technical planning activities, and the other a robust process for involving affected and concerned stakeholders.  Using the guidebook produced by the project, GWE can develop plans using the technical track, or develop them by supporting the full stakeholder collaboration process.

Weber managed teams of citizens, local and state officials, and university faculty, staff, and students in applying and testing the guide in four (4) Colorado communities with different issues and settings.  Highland Lakes and Woodland Park are growing communities located in the mountains of Teller County. Monument is located in the rapidly growing Urban Front Range north of Colorado Springs.  Calhan is located in the rural agricultural plains, in El Paso County.

The process is an example of cutting-edge risk communication practices that emphasize treating stakeholders as partners in problem-solving and decision-making, in addition to conducting effective and efficient communication and consultation among stakeholders generally.

The project won the Colorado Governor’s 1996 Smart Growth Award for Pollution Prevention, the Colorado Chapter American Planning Association 1996 award for ‘Best Student Project’, and Renew America’s National Awards for Environmental Sustainability 1997 ‘Certificate of Environmental Achievement’.

Colorado Governor Romer Awarding Smart Growth Award for Pollution Prevention

Colorado Governor Romer Awarding Smart Growth Award for Pollution Prevention

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Applying GWE Approach to Mobilizing  Wyoming Public Water Systems in Implementing Safe Drinking Water Act

Weber developed a strategic plan for developing collaboration among Public Water Systems (PWSs), EPA, and other drinking water stakeholders for the Wyoming Direct Implementation and Enforcement Program, Region 8 EPA.

At the time the plan was developed, Wyoming was one of two states that had declined ‘primacy’, i.e., responsibility for administering federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements for PWSs in the state, thus the task of administering the program in Wyoming remained with Region 8 EPA.

EPA had the plan developed, recognizing that pragmatically, its regulatory authority and the resources available to enforce it were limited.  They recognized that SDWA requirements would be implemented more effectively and efficiently if PWSs were willing and committed to complying with the act.

The report reviews concepts, theory, and research described in the literature addressing why and how stakeholders form collaborating networks.  The concepts and theory are organized into an open systems theory framework to form a model of how to develop collaborating networks of stakeholders.

The model suggested five (5) sets of strategic actions for the EPA Program Managers to take to build the collaboration:

  • Be trained in the “collaborating network” perspective;
  • Conduct network analysis;
  • Build the collaborative network actively;
  • Develop and exercise authoritative and structural power; and
  • Conduct action research.

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Applying GWE Approach to Developing Organizational Infrastructure to Implement ‘Agricultural Chemicals in Ground Water Program’

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) assessed characteristics and perspectives of a limited number of government stakeholder programs regarding EPA’s proposed ‘Agricultural Chemicals In Ground Water Program’ for the Ground Water Protection Program, Region 8 EPA.

The program was one that did not provide EPA with regulatory authority over the potentially affected agriculturalists.

The client assumed that successful program implementation would require collaboration with U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, related state and local programs, as well as potentially affected agricultural interests.  He acknowledged that his program was not familiar with the identity of specific indispensable stakeholders, let alone how to obtain their collaboration in this potentially sensitive initiative.  He also assumed that the Ground Water Program had the lead role among Region 8 EPA programs in implementing the program, but wanted the perspectives of these programs concerning how implementation should proceed and their potential roles.

Interviews with representatives of the EPA Region 8 Pesticides and Non-point Source Programs immediately suggested the potential for conflict to occur among them as each program perceived itself as the lead for ‘AgChem’ program implementation.

At this point, the project turned to developing collaboration among relevant state, Tribal, and federal programs and EPA.  Region 8 EPA asked GWE to facilitate a meeting of these agencies to develop the intergovernmental and public-private collaboration necessary for carrying out the ‘AgChem Strategy’.  In addition, Region 8 EPA asked GWE to develop a model for developing collaboration among governmental and private sector stakeholders in carrying out the policy.  The client brought these findings and proposed model to the attention of the Office of Drinking Water and Ground Water, EPA, who supported and funded the notion of a national pilot project to test the model in Colorado.

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Applying GWE Approach to Implementing Programs Through Training, Conferences, and Facilitation

Weber has applied the stakeholder collaboration approach to implementing environmental programs in which the client’s regulatory authority is weak or absent.  In these cases, successful program implementation required the collaboration of the affected parties.  Training workshops, public meetings, and major conference planning, conduct, and facilitation are critical tools within this approach.

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Planning and Facilitating Vasquez Boulevard – Interstate 70 Superfund Site Clean-up Working Group Meetings

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) planned, conducted, and facilitated meetings of the Vasquez Boulevard – Interstate 70 (VB-I70) Superfund Site Lead and Arsenic Clean-up Working Group for the CERCLA Program, Region 8 EPA.

The purpose of the Working Group was to provide a forum for EPA, other federal, state and local agencies, and community stakeholders to collaborate regarding the clean-up of the VB/I-70 Site.As the lead regulatory agency for the Superfund process, EPA was seeking input on all aspects of the investigation of metals contamination, the assessment of risk associated with exposure to the contamination, and the identification and evaluation of Site management options.  Notable in EPA’s agenda, was developing collaboration in the development and implementation of the clean-up’s Community Health Program (CHP). George Weber, Facilitating 7/14/05 VB-I70 Working Group Meeting

EPA’s VB-I70 Program was comprised of three components:

  • Sampling the soil of residential properties for lead and arsenic to find out if the levels are high enough to affect residents’ health, and particularly that of children;
  • Removing and replacing soil and landscaping at all properties that have levels of arsenic and lead higher than the Program standard; and
  • Educating neighborhood residents about the lead and arsenic health issues, evaluating lead hazards in the home, and testing young children to see if they have been exposed to lead and arsenic using the CHP.
Beverly Lumumba, President, Clayton Neighborhood Association; Raquel Holguin, CEASE

The VB-I70 Site is located in northeast Denver, and has been characterized as an Environmental Justice site because the community is predominantly low income, minority, and disproportionately affected by environmental impacts from many sources including industry, other Superfund sites, and major transportation corridors.

EPA collaborated with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, City of Denver, Northeast Denver Housing, and several neighborhood organizations in planning on how to carry out the program.

Chris Poulet, Regional Representative, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; Michael Kosnett, MD, TAG Advisor, CEASE; Gene Hook, Environmental Health Scientist, Department of Environmental Health, City of Denver.

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Facilitating and Providing Technical Assistance to Native American Governments: PERTEC

Weber planned and facilitated meetings of Native American Tribes and provided technical assistance enabling them to incorporate a coalition to address shared environmental problems. The Tribal Programs, Region 8 EPA funded the effort. The project provided technical assistance regarding the administrative structure, staffing, budgeting, and incorporation process for the proposed organization. The twenty-six Tribes of the region eventually incorporated an organization they named PERTEC, for “Protect Earth’s Resources and Tribal Environments Corporation.”

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Training Wyoming Drinking Water Stakeholders in SDWA Lead and Copper Rule

In conjunction with the project above, Weber planned, developed, and conducted a stakeholder involvement and training conference for implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act Lead and Copper Rule for the Wyoming Direct Implementation and Enforcement Program, Region 8 EPA. He facilitated two key sessions structured to begin developing consensus and an action plan. The two-day training was conducted in Casper, and a second time in Rock Springs, and involved approximately twenty presenters drawn nationally, and over one hundred participants. The training provided PWS operators with required continuing education requirements.

Weber applied community development techniques to the extent practicable to win the cooperation and participation of Wyoming stakeholders, and particularly state officials. One notable feature included a panel of drinking water stakeholders representing PWS operators, consulting engineers, state executive and legislative officials, and congressional offices. Panel members were given the opportunity to express their perspectives, primarily to EPA, about the new requirements near the beginning and conclusion of the training. The training was judged a success, with participation well exceeding EPA’s expectations.

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Training to Implement Ban On Lead Materials in Drinking Water

Weber developed and conducted outreach and training for utility, labor, business, educational, and government stakeholders in carrying out the “Lead Ban” requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for the Safe Drinking Water Program, Region 8 EPA.

EPA’s ‘Lead Ban’ was perhaps the first initiative under SDWA where EPA did not have regulatory authority over the stakeholders that would need to comply with the requirement (e.g., plumbers; construction engineers; heating, cooling, air conditioning contractors) or state regulatory agencies overseeing these professions. The client acknowledged that outreach and education probably were the only means available to EPA for encouraging implementation and wanted to conduct a conference for the indispensable stakeholders.

The client gave Weber the latitude to apply community development principles and techniques to develop collaboration among representatives of EPA, state, and local agencies, and professional and business associations, labor unions, and the University of Colorado in sponsoring and conducting the conference for affected stakeholders. Weber facilitated these key stakeholders to develop consensus regarding agenda, presenters, materials, date, and location.  The local plumbers union volunteered their Denver facility as the conference site.  The union’s training facility enabled the project to do live demonstrations on how to use the then new lead-free materials in home plumbing.  One session in particular went far to defuse the initial opposition towards EPA and the new initiative, by enabling a national spokesperson for plumbers to speak frankly at the outset of the conference.  The project was cited to the EPA National Administrator as the best stakeholder mobilization project nationally that year.

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Planning and Conducting Large Conferences: U.S. Department of Energy Region 8 Legislators’ Energy Project

Weber ‘cut his teeth’ on how to plan and conduct high quality outreach and education conferences while employed as a Project Manger by the Energy Program, National Conference of State Legislatures.  He managed the U.S. Department of Energy’s ‘Region 8 Legislators’ Energy Project’.  The Project provided technical assistance to western legislators on a variety of contemporary energy resource development, conservation and emergency response, and demand and supply planning and management topics.  The  primary means for providing the assistance were meetings and special events for the ‘Legislators Project Advisory Team’ and U.S. Department of Energy funders, and planning and conducting two major conferences for legislators from the six state region.

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