WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a “tough conversation” earlier this week with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today called the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Shaun Donovan, and urged continued investment in the decontamination and decommissioning of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. Since WARN notices were issued at the Piketon plant, Brown has continued his push to find funding for the project.
“Piketon has been hit with a one-two punch, with WARN notices for the cleanup project and the American Centrifuge Project,” Brown said. “In the past, I worked with the Administration and the Democratic Majority in Congress to expedite the cleanup completion date. Now is not the time to turn back on this project. This plant holds great importance to the community and southeast Ohio’s economy. The WARN notices are the latest setback, but the community has overcome challenges in the past and can do it again. I stressed the importance of this facility to Director Donovan today and hope this will lead to sincere efforts from the Administration and the Republican Congressional leadership to fund it in full.”
Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy (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 wrote to Donovan and Moniz urging them to work with Congress to facilitate adequate funding to continue operations at Portsmouth. He also 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 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.