by Monica Mendoza
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Carrying their two-inch thick binders, environmental experts from across the 21st Space Wing hunkered down for a three-day workshop in Colorado Springs to delve into such complex issues as environmental law, storm water requirements and new environmental and safety management instruction.
Engineers and environmental staff from the wing’s geographically separated units — Thule Air Base, Cavalier, Cape Cod, Cheyenne Mountain and Clear Air Force Stations — joined Peterson’s staff April 26-28 at the Plaza of the Rockies, downtown Colorado Springs, for the 21st Space Wing Environmental Site Support Workshop, which the wing hosts every two years. Participants from Buckley and Schriever Air Force Bases also joined the workshop.
The wing’s environmental team talks regularly by e-mail and telephone, but “this is the first time some of us have met,” said Dave Anderson, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron environmental site support.
The workshop was meant to provide a better understanding of environmental requirements and offer an opportunity for personnel to raise issues and concerns with the wing’s experts, Mr. Anderson said.
Experts from the wing, Air Force Space Command and outside agencies briefed the 30 participants on the new federal and state environmental policies and regulations. The group also discussed the very significant changes in the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and Management Program, which provides a review of the base to ensure policies and practices are in compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
Col. Kimerlee Conner, 21st Mission Support Group commander, welcomed the participants to the workshop and said it was an excellent opportunity for the wing’s environmental personnel to engage in cross talks, air concerns and build teamwork.
About 20 environmental experts were available to help ensure conformity across the wing with environmental policies and Department of Defense, Air Force and Air Force Space Command objectives, Colonel Conner said.
Under the National Environmental Policy, the wing is required to document all potential environmental impacts from dorm construction to generator plants, Colonel Conner said.
“We know that in this environment, we have dwindling resources and things are not getting better,” Colonel Conner said to the group. “So we have to do things a little more efficiently and smarter in our business processes — part of that is increasing energy efficiency and conserving water and reducing environmental impact.”
Dave Ritchie, 21st CES, said there was plenty to discuss during the workshop, including activity management reviews, which are part of a new civil engineering program management concept being installed first at major installations and then the GSUs.
“The advantage of coming together is to review existing environmental rules and regulations, which are very co
mplicated, and introducing new concepts,” Mr. Ritchie said.
Colonel Conner said the wing has enjoyed immeasurable success in its environmental programs. However, she encouraged the wing’s environmental experts to dig deep, for “faster, more economical ways, to clean up the impacts of our past operations, while at the same time decreasing our environmental liability and continuing to be very good neighbors.”