Energy officials see steady growth in demand for INEEL data at Jackson

Friday, January 28, 2000

By Anne Minard
Journal Staff Writer
JACKSON, Wyo. - Department of Energy officials say a high demand for information led them to open an outreach office here last year.
Based on attendance at a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss the proposed mixed-waste incinerator at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Lab, they might be right.
Lorie Cahn, public information liaison at the office, said she's watched a steadily increasing stream of traffic flow into the office since taking the job in December.
"There's a segment of the population that's really interested," she said. "Another segment believes they have all the information they need."
Cahn said part of her job is to provide information, and another part is simply to listen to people's concerns.
But it doesn't stop there. Cahn said she frequently tracks down scientific literature in response to questions she's asked, and she relays local concerns back to INEEL in Idaho.
"DOE is listening. I think that's the message," she said.
Cahn also plans to coordinate INEEL Speakers Bureau presentations to local civic, government, school and special interest organizations.
The office offers tours of INEEL, and has had about 42 takers on six tours so far. Cahn said she's continually impressed with the people who take an entire day to learn about INEEL on a tour.
"It's a big commitment," she said.
A five-year Jackson resident, Cahn spent summers from 1976 to 1984 either working for INEEL or in Jackson working in a mountaineering shop, as a back country guide, a back country ranger for Targhee National Forest and as a ranger naturalist for Grand Teton National Park.
Some of Cahn's past work for INEEL has encompassed Superfund cleanup projects and efforts to design alternative energy programs. She's helped to remediate a tritium groundwater plume in New York, and uranium mill tailings in Colorado. She's also been a private consultant in numerous hazardous waste sites around the country.
Cahn said her background has proved an asset in her job so far.
"I'm from Jackson, and I've been involved in environmental cleanup for many years. I care about clean air, clean water and a clean environment," she said.
The Jackson INEEL office is open Monday through Friday. The address is 260 E. Simpson in Jackson.

Anne Minard covers the environment and INEEL for the Journal. She may be reached by phone at 239-3168, or by e-mail at aminard@journalnet.com

     


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