Roane County Environmental Review Board (RCERB)

Open Letter – By John Shaw

The County Executive and the County Commission created the Roane County Environmental Review Board (RCERB) to study environmental related issues in detail and provide factual-based recommendations. The RCERB serves in this advisory role solely to the Roane County government and is composed of educated professionals, concerned local citizens, and citizens familiar with or knowledgeable of local, regional, and national issues, whose task it is to search out, become familiar with, and review environmental issues that can and do affect our county. The RCERB is made up entirely of volunteers who serve at no cost to Roane County or its taxpayers. 

In the past year, the RCERB has been involved in matters such as the determining the safety of the new soccer fields created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), review of the TVA gypsum storage area expansion, status of the Clinch River Corporation Superfund Site, and the American Zinc Recycling processing variance. All of these activities involved immediate need issues important to the Roane County government.

The RCERB has also been involved in reviewing continuing issues important to the Roane County  taxpayer safety such as clarification of water issues in streams bordering Tiger Haven, issues surrounding the new Y-12 associated waste burial grounds; activities at the Horizon Center (K-25) site; and legacy facility stabilization efforts at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Some of these issues have immediate impacts, while others have long-term impacts requiring in-depth review on not only current area residents but also future area residents as well.

The Roane County government has also requested the RCERB stay abreast of future planned activities on the Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation. This has required the RCERB to examine and understanding the plans for the potential construction of a Small Modular Reactor on the old Clinch River Breeder Site by TVA and the Versatile Test Reactor by the DOE. Two future activities, a planned airport and racetrack on DOE owned or previously controlled land, will be followed. While not yet verified to be built, each of these new facilities could have different potential environmental impacts to the government, service departments, and taxpayers of Roane County. The RCERB is tasked to identify and quantify these potential impacts utilizing their educational knowledge, along with their skills obtained from years working in various areas of government and private sector work.

Recently, the Roane County Commissioners reestablished the Invasive Species Committee inside of the RCERB while also expanding its scope of concern to include not only aquatic but also terrestrial invasive species issues. One of the main issues currently being followed is the invasive silver carp issue, which the Roane County Commissioners have begun addressing based on RCERB recommendations. The Commissioners have already issued a resolution to encourage the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, TVA, United States Army Corp of Engineers, and the relevant Tennessee State Representatives for Roane County to aggressively pursue all possible opportunities to prevent the silver carp from moving further upstream in the Tennessee River system. Additional surrounding counties and cities have followed suit by passing similar resolutions as well. The RCERB will continue following this issue and presenting recommendations to the Commission as required.

From time to time, as terms for its members expire, or RCERB members can no longer serve, new people are needed to fill vacant positions. That time is now with three regular member positions open, each who will serve a three-year appointment. You may wonder about the time commitment needed to be a RCERB member. We meet once per month for about 1 – 1.5 hours. Per state law, all meetings are open to the public. In addition, we also spend a few hours per month reviewing documents, performing web searches, attending the public meetings of other organizations deemed informative to our activities, and even attending environmental conferences to collect information and/or gain insight into a particular subject matter. So the time commitment is typically only a few hours per month as review and meeting duties are divided up between the members. If you would like to see how the RCERB functions, our monthly meetings are open to the public and are held the first Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm in the Roane County Courthouse.

So if you are a legal citizen of Roane County (required to qualify) and desire to make a positive impact in your community (particularly if you are retired) we encourage you to consider becoming a member of the RCERB. You can contact John Shaw, RCERB Chair, at [email protected]. Please send a resume containing your complete educational and work experience history. Because the RCERB members must function independent of any external organizations, we also require a complete list of any other organizations to whom you may hold a membership to help identify any potential conflicts of interest.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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