Local leaders head to DC to discuss future of Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

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Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - David Dycus
Web Editor - Ryan Burkett

PADUCAH, Ky. - As the future of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant remains up in the air, Paducah and McCracken County leaders are in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to seek answers about what's next.

They plan to meet with senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul along with Rep. Ed Whitfield.

Paducah Economic Development President Chad Chancellor has serious concerns over the future of the plant. At the center of those concerns, he says, is the inaction by the Department of Energy to decide what should happen next.

"That really frustrates me to no end that there would be any doubt whatsoever about what they are going to do," Chancellor said.

Chancellor wants answers from the DOE, as does Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler.

"We feel like we have to continue to keep the pressure on," Kaler said.

Kaler says with layoffs coming, the DOE can't waste any more time.

"All they need to do is just be open and sit down at the table with the community and talk with us," Kaler said. "I don't think that is asking a lot."

Chancellor wants the DOE to foot the bill for cleanup at the site, but he isn't satisfied with the answers he's getting.

"What we've heard them say is, they would like to put off clean up for awhile, get the plant in such a state that they can shut it down and deal with clean up down the road," Chancellor said. "And that is unacceptable to us."

Both Chancellor and Kaler say the soon-to-be laid off workers deserve better, and they hope they can put some pressure on the DOE to do the right thing: hand over the plant now to a company that's willing to make the investment.

"We need answers," Kaler said. "We need answers for our community."
 
"I would think they are listening to us, but I think it comes down to money and politics and the frustrating thing is locally, we don't have a lot of control over that," Chancellor said. "But still, that doesn't let them get away with not doing the right thing."

While Chancellor had to cancel his plans to go to D.C., the rest of the delegation is making the trip. Local 6's Robert Bradfield is also along for the ride. You can follow him on Twitter at RJBradfield with the hashtag #PGDPDC.

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