Brad Wenstrup (OH-2) and Bill Johnson (OH-6) who serve constituents in Scioto County, have become the latest members of the Ohio delegation in Washington to ask for continued financial support for the cleanup of the DOE reservation at Piketon
In a letter sent Monday, the two urged the House Appropriations Committee to sustain the ongoing cleanup of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in any short-term continuing resolution (CR) to be considered this month.
With existing funding for the government running out at the end of September, the House is expected to pass a spending bill to temporarily fund government operations, including cleanup work at Portsmouth site in Piketon, while a long-term budget deal is negotiated. Wenstrup and Johnson requested that the CR provide enough funding for Piketon to avoid layoffs and work stoppages.
The letter read in part: “We will continue to work with the [Appropriations] Committee on long-term funding levels that fully support cleanup operations, but, in the meantime, we want to ensure that a short-term CR does not have negative long-term consequences for the workers at Portsmouth and the Piketon community.”
The two reiterated any decision not to fund the cleanup at Piketon would be reneging on a promise.
“In return for their hard work and sacrifice during the Cold War, the people of Ohio received a commitment from the federal government to properly dismantle the Portsmouth site and prepare it for use by future generations. We hope that you will help us keep this promise,” the correspondence said.
Earlier in the month, the two U.S. Senators from Ohio also asked for money for the Piketon cleanup. U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked Senate appropriators to include funding to maintain ongoing cleanup efforts at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon in any short-term continuing resolution considered in the Senate. While the fiscal year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations bill passed in the Senate earlier this year included funding for decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) efforts at the site, the bill has not cleared the House of Representatives – leaving funding for the plant in question. Continued funding for the plant is critical to ongoing cleanup and preventing layoffs.
In a letter sent to leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senators talked about the importance of the projects at Piketon.
“Portsmouth’s D&D efforts are an integral part of the Department of Energy’s commitment to the people of southern Ohio,” said Portman and Brown in a letter sent to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Continued operations at the present level is an essential part of that commitment.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.