October 14, 2005
Colloquium Speaker: Tom Voltaggio
Thomas C. Voltaggio is the Deputy Regional Administrator of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency in Philadelphia. Tom received his Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the City College of New York and a Masters Degree in Management Science from Texas Christian University. He joined the EPA in July of 1971 as an engineer in the Region VI Water Pollution Permit program. Tom managed the Superfund program in EPA Region III from its inception. In January of 1991, he became Director of the entire Hazardous Waste Management Division. Since May, 1998 he has been the Deputy Regional Administrator of Region III, responsible for all environmental programs in EPA's Mid-Atlantic Region. From January through July, 2001 he was Acting Regional Administrator. After the September 11 tragedies, Tom oversaw EPA's activities in the Pentagon response and became intimately involved as senior EPA regional official on scene for the response to the Anthrax attack on Capitol Hill, assuring that the cleanup of the Hart building was performed in a safe and efficacious manner. Tom has been trained as a Principal Federal Official by the Department of Homeland Security under the new National Response Plan and served as the Deputy Principal Federal official for the 2005 national homeland security exercise, TOPOFF3, which tested the country's response to a mock biological terrorism attack in New Jersey.
The response process for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) incidents and for natural disasters has evolved over time. Initially, responses addressed natural disasters, but that changed dramatically after 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks. The Capitol Hill Anthrax Site was the first major cleanup of a biological warfare agent. Lessons learned from that cleanup informed the subsequent anthrax remediations and influenced the preparation of the National Response Plan (NRP) by the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. The NRP specifies the designation of a Principal Federal Official (PFO) for all Incidents of National Significance. Mr. Voltaggio will discuss the April 2005 TOPOFF-3 exercise which involved the release of multiple WMDs at multiple locations in three countries from his standpoint as a Deputy PFO. Finally, he will present observations on the Hurricane Katrina response and possible next steps.