Morning Briefing - May 30, 2019
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May 30, 2019

Still No Official Word on Status of DOE Nuclear Cleanup Boss

By ExchangeMonitor

The Department of Energy as of Thursday had neither officially confirmed nor denied widespread chatter regarding the resignation of Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management Anne Marie White.

A number of sources first said last week that White had been asked to step down after 14 months leading the office charged with cleanup of 16 radioactively contaminated nuclear sites. Her principal deputy, Mark Gilbertson, reportedly is also being reassigned within the Energy Department.

The Office of Environmental Management last week punted inquiries to the main Energy Department press office, which since then has not responded to calls and emails.

However, there are continued signs that White’s status has changed. A House of Representatives Nuclear Cleanup Caucus event on June 5 was originally to be moderated by White, but the Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG) said in an updated notice Wednesday that Undersecretary Paul Dabbar will lead the discussion.

Sources said Dabbar, White’s immediate superior, asked for her resignation last week after they disagreed on the handling of a controversy over possible radioactive contamination at a public school near DOE’s Portsmouth Site in Pike County, Ohio.

“I have asked DOE who our contact will be going forward (since Anne is gone) and still awaiting a response,” Pike County Health Commissioner Matt Brewster said by email.

Sources say Ike White, chief of staff and associate principal deputy administrator at DOE’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration, could run the Environmental Management office in the short term. An NNSA spokesman declined comment Wednesday.

Some sources say the manager of EM’s Carlsbad Field Office in New Mexico, Todd Shrader, could be temporarily assigned as the No. 2 post at the nuclear cleanup office.