WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) met last week with Jennifer Chandler of Wastren Advantage, Inc. in Piketon, and Kevin Shoemaker and Steve Shepherd of the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative at his weekly coffee with constituents during their visit to Washington, D.C. They discussed the importance of continued cleanup efforts at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and the critical importance of preserving 700 local jobs at the site.
“It was an honor to meet with Ms. Chandler, Mr. Shoemaker, and Mr. Shepherd,” Brown said. “I applaud their efforts to help save the jobs of several hundred workers in Piketon. This issue is a priority for me and for the many families in Piketon that will be affected and I urge my congressional colleagues and the Department of Energy to take the necessary steps to eliminate the need for these possible layoffs.”
This week, Brown and Rob Portman (R-OH) joined members of the Ohio Congressional delegation in calling on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to take steps to prevent the possible layoffs of nearly 700 workers employed on the cleanup of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. In their letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the senators urged the Department to advocate within the Obama Administration and with Members of Congress to forestall the proposed layoffs and help continue the cleanup of the site.
“The Department of Energy (DOE) has worked collaboratively with the Piketon community to develop an aggressive cleanup strategy that would see the project completed by 2024, improve the environmental footprint of the site, prepare the site for reindustrialization, save taxpayer dollars, and maximize employment levels,” the delegation wrote. “But last week’s announcement put the Department of Energy’s previous efforts in jeopardy. If DOE fully exercises the layoffs, it would mean a loss of one-third of the current workforce. This would significantly delay the completion date for the project which would inflate the project’s cost and force taxpayers to pay billions more to complete the same amount of work.”
Brown and Portman were joined on the letter by U.S. Representatives Bill Johnson (OH-6), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Brad Wenstrup (OH-2), and Steve Stivers (OH-15).