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Here is Tom Voltaggio
addressing the meeting
of the Greater Nashville Homeland Security Conference
2005, at which he discusses his key role in the USEPA response to the
Capitol Hill Anthrax Attack.
Tom has spoken at six national and international Homeland Security
conferences regarding this unique experience.
Summary of experience in this area:
Directed the Superfund hazardous
waste site cleanup and emergency response programs in the Mid-Atlantic
region of USEPA for 17 years. Developed intimate knowledge of hazardous
substance release prevention, preparedness, response, and remediation.
Became the leading EPA spokesperson for knowledge transfer between EPA
operational regions and the headquarters policy offices.
After 9/11 and the anthrax attacks
through the mail system, served as the leading EPA regional expert for
homeland security. Oversaw the cleanup of the Capitol Hill Anthrax
site, ensuring that this complex and ground-breaking cleanup was
performed safely, effectively and in the shortest time possible. I was
a key contributor to the EPA Homeland Security Strategic Plan and have
coordinated with airport and first responder staff on airport
preparedness planning activities. During this period, interacted
closely with the EPA Homeland Security Research Center in Cincinnati
and the newly formed Office of Homeland Security within EPA.
Requested by the Secretary of the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be trained as a Principal
Federal Official (PFO) under the National Response Plan. This position
has been established to represent the President and the Secretary of
Homeland Security and insure that all the resources of the federal
government are provided to the emergency responders during incidents of
national significance. Approximately 75 PFOs have been established
nationwide. In preparation for mobilization, have consulted with the
FBI, US Secret Service and the National Capitol Region office of DHS.
Have been cleared at the TS-SCI level as a result of this work.
Appointed EPAs' Senior Federal
Official at the national response to Hurricane Katrina. Deployed to New
Orleans for three weeks, where I directed EPA's response to its mission
assignments to assure appropriate environmental protection during the
massive cleanup from the wind damage and levee breaks caused by the
hurricane. Served as the EPA point of contact at the Baton Rouge Joint
Field Office and the New Orleans Area Field Office.
Examples of achievements:
Managed the nation’s largest
bio-chemical terrorism response when EPA was called upon to clean up
the anthrax contamination on Capitol Hill in the fall of 2001. EPA was
selected by Capitol Hill leadership to assess the extent of
contamination and to remediate the anthrax contamination in the entire
Capitol Hill complex. Without prior experience or training, EPA
performed these tasks and completed the operation to allow for
re-opening of the entire complex within 100 days of the attack.
Performed the role of principal EPA official on-scene to provide
support to the EPA responders and to be the communication channel up to
EPA and Congressional leadership. This experience has been shared with
others at symposia and workshops throughout the US and Europe. Three
years later, when Ricin was detected on Capitol Hill, performed the
same function as principal EPA official on-scene.
Directed an EPA team of
scientists and laboratory experts to develop and institute an EPA
program to assure the analysis of environmental samples from terrorist
incidents. This responsibility was given to the USEPA from the
Department of Homeland Security in late 2004 and a program needed to be
conceived and developed. Tasked by the Assistant Administrator for
Solid Waste and Emergency Response to provide this leadership and
direction. This program is in the final stages of implementation.
Was named Deputy Principal
Federal Official (DPFO) for the New Jersey venue of the TOPOFF3
national exercise in 2005. TOPOFF3 was the third national homeland
security exercise to test the nation’s preparedness and response to
attacks using weapons of mass destruction. Participated fully in
TOPOFF3 as the DPFO and was the PFO during various shifts of this
week-long exercise. During this intense training scenario, became more
knowledgeable of national terrorism response planning and operations,
consulted closely with national and State law enforcement personnel and
Homeland Security officials and became more knowledgeable of biological
terrorist incident response and recovery. Utilized this knowledge in
subsequent table-top exercises with airport officials, health
departments, law enforcement, fire departments and homeland security
personnel for the three largest west coast airports.
Provided executive level EPA
presence in New Orleans at the national response to Hurricane Katrina,
where prior experience with the Department of Homeland Security was
utilized to assure effective mission assignment completion.