WASHINGTON, D.C. — Another $30 million is what local leaders are requesting of the federal government to continue cleanup at the Department of Energy Paducah site.
The additional funding is to allow for steps needed to accelerate cleanup efforts. Job security is a concern if you get a paycheck for work at the DOE Paducah site, and meetings this week between local leaders and decision makers in D.C. aim to alleviate the concern.
To secure future contracts and steady work for local men and women, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce President Sandra Wilson and a large delegation will talk with top leaders at DOE and lawmakers.
"Making sure they know how important that is as an economic driver for Paducah, McCracken County, and all of west Kentucky, even into southern Illinois. We are trying to push always for more funding, but we have some specific requests into the Department of Energy this year for more funding," Wilson said.
Wilson said those face-to-face talks are priceless especially, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
"It is really important that people of influence hear about our needs in west Kentucky. And so this is a great opportunity. We will be sharing those with Leader McConnell. He's the Senate Majority Leader, so we want to know that we need this funding, we're requesting it, what we would do with it," Wilson said.
Paducah is home of one of the world's largest concentrations of R-114, an ozone-depleting product. There are 8.5 million pounds at the Paducah site, causing it to be one of DOE's largest environmental risks. The additional funding request is an increase above the 2015 DOE baseline for Paducah site.
That request and the cleanup is ultimately for future generations. The Department of Energy has been actively pursuing environmental cleanup at the Paducah site since 1988. As it stands right now, cleanup is projected for 2065.