mitch mcConnell 300WASHINGTON (4/9/14) — U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell advocated on behalf of Paducah to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

During a Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Senator McConnell closely questioned the Secretary about the future of the cleanup operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

At the hearing on Capitol Hill, Senator McConnell inquired about the Department of Energy’s long-term plans for cleanup and expressed frustration with DOE’s lack of communication with the community.

During the hearing, Senator McConnell thanked Secretary Moniz for the attention he has given the Paducah site and in particular, his work on future energy development opportunities there. McConnell added, that he remained “deeply concerned, however, with the Department’s long-term plans for cleanup at the site. As you know, the administration’s decision to cease enrichment at the facility has already led to hundreds of layoffs of hard working, highly-skilled Kentuckians and has created a great deal of hardship and anxiety in the community. As I have noted in previous conversations, there are certain steps that I hope you will take to help mitigate the impact of the facility’s eventual closing by moving forward with vital cleanup work.”

Senators McConnell and Rand Paul, along with Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY-01), are working to expedite DOE’s awarding the major cleanup contract in the hopes that it will create some job opportunities in the community. DOE is expected to award the contract in September, but Senator McConnell and the Kentucky federal delegation have urged DOE to begin this vital work sooner. The members also are urging DOE to hire a dedicated site manager for Paducah, which has remained unfilled for some time.

“Helping the workers and the families impacted by the transitioning of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has been and remains one of my top priorities,” Senator McConnell said. “I will continue to work closely with Senator Paul and Congressman Whitfield and those in the community to help ensure DOE keeps it commitment to cleaning up the site in a timely manner. We’ll also continue to press DOE on long-term economic development opportunities for the site, which will help create jobs for those living in the Paducah area.”

Last week, Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, questioned Secretary Moniz during a hearing in his subcommittee. Following the hearing, Representative Whitfield said, “Senators McConnell, Paul and I have spoken to DOE at all levels to ensure they know we are committed to ensuring they expedite cleanup efforts in Paducah.”

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