DOE cleanup leader leaves but will continue negotiations

Annette Cary, Tri-City HeraldJuly 10, 2014 

Dave Huizenga, the top official for the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management, is returning to his former job, but will continue his role in Hanford negotiations.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a memo to staff that Huizenga will continue to lead discussions with the state of Washington on changes to the Hanford consent decree, which sets deadlines for building and operating the Hanford vitrification plant and emptying some radioactive waste storage tanks.

Huizenga was the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, principal assistant deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation until July 2011 when he was named acting assistant secretary of the Office of Environmental Management, which is in charge of cleanup at Hanford and other DOE sites.

The office has been without a permanent assistant secretary since Ines Triay left the post three years ago.

Mark Whitney was named this week by Moniz to fill in as acting assistant secretary. Since May he has been the office's principal deputy assistant secretary and previously was manager of the DOE office in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Monica Regalbuto was nominated in March to become the assistant secretary for environmental management but her appointment has not been confirmed. She is an associate principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Environmental Management, a position she was named to in June.

Huizenga led the Office of Environmental Management through complex technical, regulatory and fiscal challenges, said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a message to staff.

"From day one, Dave made working with stakeholders a priority," which was the key to success in environmental cleanup programs, Moniz said.

Whitney is a proven leader "with an exceptional ability to develop high-performing organizations and teams," Moniz said. "Mark has experience leading field operations and a deep understanding of headquarters operations."

Also this week, the White House announced that President Obama has nominated Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall as DOE deputy secretary.

Current deputy secretary Dan Poneman said in June that he planned to step down in the fall.

Sherwood-Randall now serves as special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for defense policy, countering weapons of mass destruction, and arms control.

-- Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews

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