Director, Environmental Compliance and Restoration Policy
Mr. Richard G. Mach Jr. is the Director of Environmental Compliance and Restoration Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations, and Environment) and has over 24 years of environmental experience working for the Navy. He has held this position since April 2006, acting as a principal policy advisor for the Navy and Marine Corps on environmental programs, including compliance with environmental laws and regulations, cleanup of contaminated sites, and programs for pollution prevention and sustainability.
Mr. Mach began his Federal Civil Service for the Navy in 1992 at Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Southwest Division. There he was a remedial project manager in charge of cleanup and compliance projects for various Navy bases in southern California. His next assignment was as the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Environmental Coordinator (BEC) for Hunters Point Shipyard. As the BEC, Mr. Mach was responsible for the $60M/year cleanup program at the base to support eventual transfer to the City of San Francisco. After two years, Mr. Mach was selected to become the Cleanup Program and Munitions Response Program Manager for NAVFAC Headquarters. In this position, he led several NAVFAC workgroups to develop and implement improved environmental policy, guidance, and strategies to optimize the Navy’s cleanup program and implement better technologies Navy-wide. After four successful years in this position, Mr. Mach was selected for his current position.
PLATFORM PRESENTER - Complex and Unique Sites: Who Said it Was Easy?
If Everything is a Priority, Then Nothing is a Priority
Priorities, priorities, priorities. These days every site is someone’s priority for one reason or another. Site priorities come in many shapes and sizes and, despite much progress, the list of priorities continues to grow instead of shrink. Twenty years ago, the Department of Defense (DoD) evaluated its Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) sites at the national level based on relative risk and prioritized investigations and cleanups on a “worst first” basis. In 2002, the munitions response program was added as a DERP element. In conjunction with States and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DoD developed the munitions response site prioritization protocol to prioritize and sequence investigations and cleanup at munitions sites, again at the national level. Even with two national site prioritization mechanisms, various States and EPA Regions often feel the sites within their jurisdiction should take priority. In the past few years, EPA has placed greater emphasis/priority on returning all groundwater to beneficial use, and the term “where practicable within a reasonable timeframe” remains nebulously undefined. And now unregulated contaminants, most notably perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid PFOA, seem to have risen to the top of the priority list in many areas, even above regulated contaminants. We all have constrained resources, so at this point, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.