Restoration Advisory Board (RAB)
Whereas the U.S. Army is conducting environmental investigations and clean-up actions at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland under the Installation Restoration Program, therefore, Fort Detrick established a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) as a means of keeping the public involved and informed of its environmental restoration programs and activities.
The RAB functions as a forum for the timely exchange of clean-up information among the community, installation and regulatory agencies. The RAB is not construed as a Technical Advisory Committee in the context of Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) 5 U.S.C. App. 2. The RAB forum offers the opportunity for community members to review the progress of the investigation and clean-up activity and to participate in the decision-making process.
RAB membership is comprised of identified stakeholders, including members of the community; representatives of the U. S. Army and Fort Detrick; and other federal, state and local governmental representatives as required and determined by policy directive and public law.
RAB membership is open to the public and selection is approved by the installation commander through application to the administrator of the board. Membership consists 10 community members. The selection process is based on applicant representation of diverse interests in the local community with preference given to those who are most impacted by the restoration process. The administrator provides information regarding RAB applicants and obtains feedback from the membership at a regular meeting for comment. RAB members agree to serve a two-year term. RAB members may be reappointed on recommendation of the co-chair and administrator to the installation commander. Vacancies among community members are announced in public information media and other forums as deemed appropriate for notifying identified stakeholders.
The RAB is co-chaired by a Fort Detrick member and a community member. Appointment of the community co-chair and community members is at the pleasure of the commander in consultation with RAB membership and the administrator. Specifically, the Fort Detrick co-chair is appointed by and served at the pleasure of the installation commander. The community co-chair is selected by a simple majority vote by community members of the RAB using a secret ballot and concurred by the installation commander. The co-chair serves a two-year term, renewable through a majority vote. Community members unable to be present for election of the community co-chairman can submit an absentee ballot prior to the election.
The duties of the community co-chair include, but are not limited to: facilitator; coordinator; conduit for two-way flow of information.
Administration of the RAB is the responsibility of the installation commander, who appoints a staff administrator.
As a minimum requirement, the RAB does the following:
- Conduct regular meetings quarterly, but scheduling also is based on requirement for RAB participation in restoration investigation, feasibility, or remediation actions. All meetings are open to the public with the exception of occasional administrative meetings. Public attendance is openly encouraged by convenience of times and locations. Meetings are announced in the public media in advance. Meeting minutes are kept and made available to the public.
- Develop and maintain a mailing list of interested parties who want to receive information on the cleanup process. Information is provided in a timely manner.
- Review, discuss and evaluate a wide range of draft and final technical documents, status reports and proposed and final plans related to the cleanup. Reviews are conducted in time frames determined by regulatory agencies. There are no delays in the preparation of draft or final documents as a result of the RAB's participation in the review process.
- Assist in identification of potential project requirements and provide input on priorities among sites or projects.
Regular attendance at RAB meetings is necessary to ensure ongoing, consistent involvement by community members. Absence from three consecutive meetings is deemed just cause for dismissal. If, at any time, a RAB member wishes to be removed from the board, the member should submit a resignation in writing to either RAB co-chairperson. Resigning RAB members are permitted to nominate new members as replacements.
RAB members must develop ground rules and operating procedures to ensure open, efficient and productive operation. Ground rules ensure the RAB maintains its focus on environmental restoration issues and does not become a sounding board for other community concerns. Advice and recommendations provided to the government by RABs must be offered by attendees in their individual capacities rather than by the consensus of the RAB. If a majority of RAB members determines it is necessary to provide consensus advice and recommendations to the government, the RAB first must be reconstituted in accordance with the requirements of FACA and establish procedures consistent with it.
Public participation in the RAB is strictly voluntary. The Army will be prepared to provide technical assistance to members through the Technical Assistance for Public Participation Program (TAPP) if a two-third majority of the RAB concurs in the need for such technical assistance.