WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a conversation with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz this evening, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) received reassurance that no layoffs are planned at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon through Dec. 11. At Brown’s urging, the short-term funding resolution, which expires on Dec. 11, included language that ensures no workforce reductions at the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) operations in Piketon.
“This evening, Secretary Moniz guaranteed that no jobs would be lost at the Piketon plant for the duration of the spending bill passed last week,” said Brown. “Southern Ohio’s economy relies on continued cleanup progress – and that can only continue with the dedicated workforce that has put so much time into ensuring that this site can attract future economic development. I’ll continue working to find a long-term funding solution for the plant.”
Since WARN notices were issued at the Piketon plant, Brown has continued his push to find funding for the project. Following Brown’s urging, the continuing resolution – which funds the government through Dec. 11 – gives DOE the ability to continue D&D operations at Piketon.
In August, DOE – which oversees D&D projects – announced that a budget shortfall in fiscal year 2016 appropriations for the project at Piketon will result in layoffs at the facility. Brown immediately sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting that funds be appropriated to continue the current pace of D&D efforts at Portsmouth for the entire 2016 fiscal year – either through the direct appropriation of $275 million or through another year-long budget anomaly.
Brown has also spoken with and written to Secretary Moniz and Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shaun Donovan urging continued investment in the D&D of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.
Brown has repeatedly called on the Obama Administration and Senate Appropriators to fully fund the cleanup of the plant and continued operation of the American Centrifuge Project. In March, Brown wrote to leaders of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee requesting full funding of the cleanup site. In January, he wrote to OMB Director Donovan requesting full funding for the project in President’s FY 2016 budget. In December 2014, Brown helped avert layoffs at the facility and secured more than $200 million in direct funding to continue cleanup efforts as part of the FY15 omnibus appropriations bill.