Commissioners look to gather support

By Wayne Allen

A continuing resolution was passed earlier this year to fund government operations through Dec. 11.

If a continuing resolution, or budget, funding government operations is not passed the government will shutdown.

Caught in the middle of this is the fate of Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) work, at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

If the government is not funded, money to continue D&D work would not be available potentially putting hundreds of people out of work.

In anticipation of the Dec. 11 deadline, the commissioners of Scioto, Pike, Ross, Lawrence, Adams and Jackson Counties have signed letters addressed to United States Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz asking for funds to support programs in Piketon.

Each of the letters express the same message and urgency in finding enough funding to continue the programs.

The letter from the Scioto County Commissioners reads, “With Congress and President Obama poised to agree upon a federal budget for fiscal year 2016 and 2017, the Ohio counties of Scioto, Pike, Ross, Jackson, Adams and Lawrence urge you to deliver on the President’s commitment to the PORTS D&D Project.”

Over the course of the letter, the commissioners quote from a letter sent to then Ohio Governor Ted Strickland from then presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“I will support funding the cleanup of soil, groundwater and hazardous waste from legacy operations. I want to assure that when we declare the Piketon site is cleaned up, it will mean that health and environmental hazards are not left behind so that new businesses can locate at the Piketon facility without concern.”

The letter goes on the urge DOE to fully fund the D&D project to avoid impacts to the workforce and advance the cleanup timetable, to achieve the end state vision for the plant.

At the end of the letter, the commissioners ask DOE to reconsider the current plan for the American Centrifuge Plant closure.

On Thursday the Scioto County Commissioners said, the letters were sent to DOE early this week, with no response.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT