By Wayne Allen
The Scioto County Commissioners on Tuesday criticized President Barack Obama on his priorities, for renaming North America’s tallest mountain while the area rallies for workers in Piketon.
“I think the President of the United States has something a lot more important things to do than worry about the name of a mountain 4,000 miles away,” said Mike Crabtree, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners. “I don’t see where anybody cares that much (about the name of a mountain in Alaska).”
Obama took action this week to rename Mount McKinley to Denali — an Athabascan word meaning “the high one.” The name has long been a sore spot for Alaskans, who have informally called the 20,320-foot mountain Denali for years.
Commissioners Doug Coleman and Bryan Davis echoed Crabtree’s remarks.
“We’re $18 trillion in debt; we have violence spread across our land right now. We have kids killing each other and we have people killing cops, might as well call it anarchy and we’re worried about the name of a mountain,” Davis said.
Communities in several southern Ohio communities are beginning rallying efforts to restore funding to the Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) work at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget request cuts $55 million in funding from the project. D&D contractor Fluor-BWXT had their ability to barter uranium decreased by the Department of Energy resulting in an estimated loss of $25 million.
Officials are estimating the financial loss could result in 500 jobs being eliminated from the project, and a loss of $800 million.
Coleman and Davis said the Piketon Plant is a matter of national security.
“Our leaders have not done their job to foster the cohesiveness on what do with the old from our nuclear stockpile and how to move forward,” Davis said. “You wonder, when is someone going to finally say, ‘we need a plan,’ we just can’t react to fires, there needs to be a plan.”
Davis said this has been an issue for the federal government for a number of years and is not limited to the Obama Presidency.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT. The Associated Press contributed to this story.