By Wayne Allen
The Scioto County Commissioners, along with other elected officials from the region have been advocating for sustainable funding to conduct Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D), work along with other activities at the Piketon Department of Energy (DOE) reservation.
Mike Crabtree, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners, believes DOE and the federal government need to fulfill its promise to the area and the region by cleaning up for former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Recent news from DOE indicates there will a funding cut at some point, extending the anticipated completion date father into the future.
“Every chance we get, we’ve been trying to letters and do whatever we can to preserve the funding,” Crabtree said. “From what I’m looking at now and what I’ve heard, they’re going to lose funding this year. There could be as many as 500 layoffs over time if funding is not restored.”
Crabtree said every year it seems funding is more and more uncertain.
“I don’t know why you have to ask for something that somebody has already promised you. We’ve got to keep pleading with someone to do what they know is the right thing to do, but they promised to do,” Crabtree said.
Crabtree believes the federal government has short changed the region when it comes to funding activities at the reservation.
“We’ve been the Appalachian area forever and it’s a nice place to live, but when the government looks at it, they figure there are not very many votes there so we can stick it to the community and you’re not going to hear a lot of screaming,” Crabtree said. “I know that’s a crude way of saying it, but that’s what we’ve been dealing with.”
Crabtree complemented Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, along with Representatives Bill Johnson and Brad Wenstrup for their continuing efforts in Washington.
“It’s taken everything we can do to keep the money coming. We’re hoping they will see the light and come through with the money they need for this year and maybe come up with a long term solution,” Crabtree said.
Crabtree hinted at possible plans for a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with officials concerning the projects future.
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis echoed Crabtree’s comments and said, “The Commissioners of Pike, Scioto and some of the other adjacent counties are working together to communicate our concerns. We need to support the workers and the management has been hand-strung because of funding cuts.”
Coleman concurred with the idea of going to Washington to meet with officials.
“Everybody around here wants to keep their job. I think you need to go to the source, Washington D.C., and make a big scene,” Coleman said.
Crabtree thinks a lot of the possible effected employees have not taken the situation as serious as it really is.
“I guess they’ve got this false since of security, they’re going to come through with the money someway,” Crabtree said. “We’re going to keep fighting for what we know we’re entitled to and what should have already been given to us. We’re trying and we’re doing all we can, Next step is Washington.”
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT