Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Leaders and Lawyers in FEMA!

I was a member of the FEMA General Counsel office from 1979-1999 when I retired. I have posted on my other blog at http://www.vacationlanegrp.wordpress.com an article about the SALT effort in the current OCC.

Some background: Of the five General Counsels I worked with only two could be characterized as activists. The others lawyered carefully and defensively which was good but really only served to provide rationales for inaction to the FEMA leadership.

I often said that if I was made the GC I would only issue the NO opinions while all those working for me could issue the YES opinions. I was also never allowed to guide the legal direction of the statute that gave the widest discretion to FEMA, specifically the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 [Public Law 93-288]that was superseded in part, revised in part, and supplemented in part by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act [Public Law 100-707] both codified in Title 42 of the US Code starting at Section 5121.

Oddly perhaps only two of the Directors of FEMA I served under were activists, specifically Lewis O. Guiffrida and James Lee Witt. They did not exactly overlap the activists lawyer General Counsel's willing to say yes.

But I am glad to see the SALT effort being made by current Chief Counsel Brad Keiserman.

This October 1st I will have been retired 13 years from FEMA. In that time I have had only one official call back to provide some factual information and that concerned the so-called FAST BREAKER nuclear accident/incident at a power reactor. I stated then as now that FEMA's REPP did NOT take into account that event nor did NRC's regulatory efforts.

Perhaps Lessons Learned from FUKISHIMA will change that conclusion.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Executive Order 12919 rescinded by new EO!

Executive Order 12919 issued in June 1994 and which replaced EO 10480 has been rescinded by an Executive Order issued Friday by the President. The new Order will have a number assigned by NARA this week.
It is not a significant change except it repairs the Presidential delegation it represents to directly place obligations on the Department of Homeland Security as opposed to the Administrator FEMA.
More importantly it continues to delegate authority to multiple agencies and departments, including the Commerce Department which is threatened by a proposed Presidential reorganization.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Text of Executive Order 12241 [1980]

Executive Order 12241--National Contingency Plan

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12241 of Sept. 29, 1980, appear at 45 FR 64879, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 282, unless otherwise noted.

By the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America under Section 304 of Public Law 96-295 (94 Stat. 790) and Section 301 of Title 3 of the United States Code, and in order to provide for the publication of a plan to protect the public health and safety in case of accidents at nuclear power facilities, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1-101. The functions vested in the President by Section 304 of Public Law 96-295 (94 Stat. 790) are delegated to the Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

1-102. A copy of the National Contingency Plan shall, from time to time, be published in the Federal Register.



IMO any formal change to the FRERP should have been published in the Federal Register or at least Referenced by Notice.

When [Not if but when] FEMA is Reorganized!

Many know that I think the forthcoming Commerce Department termination under President Obama's Reorganization Proposals will also impact the NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program] and the Mitigation % Insurance Directorate in FEMA.

But I am now willing to predict that FEMA's REPP [Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program] may well be on its way to EPA the organization who EPZ PAGs [Protective action guidance] determine the perimeter of that zone. FDA of course has its own PAGs that determine the 50 mile demarcation for the INGESTION Pathway for food and animals.

Why this prediction? As each day passes it is becoming more and more obvious that the FUKISHIMA events may be a MOM [maximum of maximums] for Japanese society and culture at least for this century. To be brief, already looking like beyond the capability of that very capable developed country to handle.

Japan studied in some detail FEMA's REPP and determined for a variety of reasons, some corrupt, that it was unnecessary to develop an equivalent in Japan. France also made that determination.

So as we pass the one year mark, and FEMA's REPP established originally under President James Earl Carter in 1980 enters its 4th decade the question arises as to its staffing and expertise.

EPA does have an office of Emergency Response led by a capable up-thorugh-the-ranks SES, Deborah Dietrich, and that office probably should have had REPP from the onset except that FEMA was victim based on its inability to understand what was involved and defend itself. The original MOU between FEMA and NRC was excuted by NRC personnel detailed from NRC when REPP was established. Marshall Sanders, a retired b-52 pilot was one of the NRC detailees and he stayed on at FEMA until his second retirement.

As my sworn deposition at the Seabrook Power Station, and my several days of sworn testimony before the ASLB, this amazing bit of bureacratic corruption apparently bothered no one but me.

At least EPA employes Health Physicists as FEMA and DHS do not.

So all it would take is a revised Executive Order, including revision of E.O. 12241 to give the lead to EPA. Based on what we now know from FUKSIMA this revision and reassignment of functions and activities could occur immediately since the REPP is funded totally by USER FEES and their are few budget implications.