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Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB)

Draft ENVVEST Public Participation Plan




JULY 1996


VAFB will engage its workers, the residents in towns around the base, and citizens of Santa Barbara County in active discussion about the goals, content, and progress of Project ENVVEST as the air and water initiatives are formulated and implemented. VAFB's Project ENVVEST provides for periodic and regular involvement of the public in a manner which substantially exceeds notice and comment rule-making procedures under California and federal law.

Agency Involvement in the Public Process

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (SBCAPCD) will be actively involved in VAFB's Project ENVVEST air initiative. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (CCRWQCB) will be the state agency actively involved in VAFB's Project ENVVEST water initiative public participation process. Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services will also be invited to be involved in the water initiative public involvement.

Advisory Board Engagement

VAFB will optimize mechanisms already existing for conducting public participation in Project ENVVEST. Three existing County environmental advisory boards already consider air quality and/or water quality issues as they pertain to VAFB or the entire County. These three existing boards will be asked to place the Project on their agendas at each regular meeting for updates and any necessary action. The boards will be asked to engage in more extended consideration and evaluation of the Project at regular intervals as ENVVEST is formulated and implemented.

These existing community boards will receive information and be asked to provide feedback at least quarterly in the formulation and implementation of VAFB's Project ENVVEST. In addition, copies of the draft FPA negotiated with US EPA and SBAPCD will be sent to each member of the first two boards. Copies of the draft water initiative FPA will be sent to RAB and Community Toxic Advisory Committee members. These existing bodies will also be asked to provide their background and experience in air or water quality issues to answer questions raised by VAFB's Project to members of other community organizations before the Final Project Agreements are negotiated as well as during their implementation.

Involvement of Representatives of a Broad Spectrum of Community Organizations

VAFB desires to establish on-going dialogue with a broad spectrum of the community for the duration of Project ENVVEST. It is desirable that the same individuals continue their involvement so that the Project can be evaluated at regular intervals for measuring progress toward milestones and for suggestions on any adjustments that may be necessary.

Therefore, representatives of a broad spectrum of organizations in the vicinity of VAFB and throughout the County will be selected for participation. These individuals will be considering both air and water initiatives, either together or separately as the schedules for the initiatives dictate.

First, information packets will be mailed in the near future to approximately one hundred selected individuals representing a wide variety of organizations. The information packets will include an explanation of the vocabulary and concepts necessary to understand the air quality and water quality ENVVEST initiatives.

Second, these individuals will be invited shortly thereafter on a bus tour of the relevant parts of VAFB so that they can see the environment under discussion and begin to forumulate questions and concerns.

Third, these same individuals will be asked to attend a half-day workshop before the Final Project Agreement has been approved by US EPA (preferrably before negotiation of the FPA has been completed), at which they may hear presentations by the US EPA, the SBCAPCD, and the CCRQQCB. After these short presentations, participants will break into about eleven small discussion groups, each comprised of individuals in the following categories:
environmental organizations
trade organizations
community organizations
elected officials
agency personnel
economic development associations

Afterwards, these same board members will be encouraged to remain in contact with workshop participants as an objective resource to answer any questions and hear comments as the Project is finalized and implemented.

The questions and comments of each small discussion group will be recorded, compiled, and provided to US EPA, SBCAPCD, CCRWQCB, other regulatory agencies, and workshop participants as a complete, unedited record of their participation, questions, comments, and concerns.

VAFB will provide copies of the draft FPA negotiated with US EPA and SBAPCD to each participant at the workshop.

Notification of the Broader Public

First, a presentation/question-answer session with the media will be held as soon as possible, preferrably similtaneous with the news release on the intent to develop a FPA with US EPA and the SBAPCD. This will acquaint the media with Project ENVVEST and encourage the media to publicize notices of board meetings at which Project ENVVEST will be on the agenda, the public workshop with invited community representatives, and other meetings which the broader public might desire to attend relating to Project ENVVEST.

The news release will have already provided the media with background on the project description, the intended stakeholder involvement process, and contact information for VAFB, US EPA, SBCAPCD, CCRWQCB, and other regulatory agencies.

Second, the following entities will be contacted within a week of the notice of intent to develop an FPA, with requests for agenda time for VAFB and SBCAPCD to provide an introduction to VAFB's Project ENVVEST initiatives, so that questions or comments raised by constituents can be intelligently addressed:

County city managers' meeting
County city council representatives' meeting
each city council or pertinent city council committee
County chambers of commerce
local service clubs
Third, the following individuals known to have an interest in VAFB's Project ENVVEST will be personally contacted within a week of the above notice of intent to arrange for appointments for representatives of VAFB to discuss any concerns they may have:

each member of the District Air Board
each local legislator's office
Marc Chytilo of Environmental Defense Center
local environmental organizations
Santa Ynez Tribal Elders Council

Fourth, VAFB will draft articles understandable to the public and request editorials on ENVVEST and what it means to the community quarterly, to appear in local newspapers

Fifth, VAFB will contact local radio and television stations and offer to appear on talk programs quarterly to explain VAFB's Project ENVVEST and what it means to the community

Sixth, VAFB will send the draft FPA which is negotiated with US EPA and SBCAPCD to all the above entities to broaden public comment on the FPA.

Stakeholder participation in plan for tracking progress

As part of the half-day workshop, representatives from a broad spectrum of community organizations will be asked for suggestions on tracking and insuring progress toward milestones, to be drafted into the FPA. These suggestions will not only be recorded and distributed to the agencies, but the agencies will have an opportunity to discuss this topic in their presentations at the beginning of the workshop.

30 day public comment period prior to EPA approval

When US EPA gives notice of its 15-30 day public comment period after negotiation of the air initiative FPA, stakeholders will be anticipating this further opportunity for further review and response to comments. As earlier provided, all of the above-mentioned organizations, entities, and individuals will receive copies of the draft FPA.

After final project agreement signed

Data tracking progress will continually be made readily available to stakeholders for independent analysis and evaluation.

All of the above-mentioned organizations, entities, and individuals will be invited to quarterly meetings tracing progress and verifying such progress with data summaries. At these quarterly meetings, there will be opportunity for reevaluation and suggestions for formulating any necessary adjustments in milestones, time lines, technologies for achieving the emission reduction goals, and methodologies for verification of those emission reductions.

Contact persons on VAFB's Project ENVVEST:


Nedra DeLama
Public Affairs
Environmental Manager's Office

(805) 734-8232 x6-2071


Sara Segal
Federal Facilities Coordinator

(415) 744-1569


Terry Dressler
Manager of Regulatory Compliance Division

(805) 961-8929


Michael Higgins
Associate Engineer

(805) 542-4649


Background on Project ENVVEST

The ENVVEST Project at Vandenberg Air Force Base is an outgrowth of President Clinton's Twenty-Five Initiatives to Reinvent Environmental Regulation introduced in March 1995. VAFB is the first site in the nation where Project ENVVEST is being carried out by the Department of Defense. A Final Project Agreement will be negotiated with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District which will provide an air initiative to reduce emissions at the base beyond the levels required by existing environmental regulation. A Final Project Agreement will be entered into with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to recycle water and further reduce air emissions as a side benefit.

Background on Vandenberg Air Force Base

VAFB serves diverse missions of the United States Air Force. Space satellits are launched into polar orbits, the ICBM force is tested for accuracy and reliability, the base operates the Western Range, it suports the Commander in Chief worldwide, and it fosters development of a commercial space program. Apart from the above missions, VAFB is similar to other communities of 10,000 residents. Its 2,000 homes support on base a hospital, schools and universities, fire and police departments, and shopping centers. At the same time, VAFB is unique in the military because of its national park-like setting. As the third largest AFB in the nation, is 100,000 acres contain 35 miles of prstine coastline, 9,000 acres of undisturbed sand dunes, 5,000 acres ofr wetlaqnds, a major watershed, and 10 endangered species.

VAFB's Air Initiative Under Project ENVVEST

VAFB is committed to conserving its precious natural resources and the health of the surrounding community. Project ENVVEST's air initiative is a source emission reduction program. The following are examples of what VAFB may do in its air initiative:


Superior Environmental Benefits from VAFB's Air Initiative

The superior environmental benefits expected under VAFB's Project ENVVEST over traditional environmental regulation include reduction of 10 tones of NOx and 5 tons of VOC's by the fifth year of Project operation. This will contribute to the County's attainment goals, reduce VAFB's administrative burden to taxpayers, and increase its mission effectiveness.

VAFB's Water Initiative Under Project ENVVEST

VAFB's water initiative will establish closed-loop recycling of space launch complex waters. This new water recycling system will eliminate trucking water to a centralized industrial wastewater treatment plant.

Superior Environmental Benefits from VAFB's Water Initiative

The superior environmental benefits under VAFB's Project ENVVEST water initiative will reduce demand on the area's drinking water aquifer (10-17% of the current overdraft condition in that aquifer), reduce the risk of salt water intrusion into the aquifer, and reduce the cost of monitoring and recordkeeping paperwork to taxpayers. A dual-media benefit derived from the superior water recycling system is a reduction in air emissions when trucking of the water is eliminated.

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