September 18, 1999
Bunning to lead Senate plant hearing
By Bill Bartleman
The Paducah Sun
The list of witnesses at Monday's Senate hearing into the Paducah
Gaseous Diffusion Plant includes the U.S. Department of Energy official
who is in charge of investigating safety at the plant, and the president
of Bechtel Jacobs Co.
Hearing hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the auditorium of the Fine Arts
Center at Paducah Community College. U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning will lead the
hearing, which is sanctioned by the Subcommittee on Energy Research,
Development, Protection and Regulation.
U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield is the only other federal lawmaker who plans to
attend. Bunning said he will give other senators on the committee a
transcript of the hearing. Testimony will center on past and present
worker safety issues.
Joseph Nemec, president of Bechtel Jacobs Co., will be in the last of
five panels to testify. His company has a contract with DOE to manage
waste at the plant and plan cleanup activities.
Also testifying will be David Sadler, DOE's acting deputy assistant
secretary for oversight in the Office of Environment, Safety and Health.
He is the senior manager of a two-phase investigation of current safety
practices and sources of contamination that occurred prior to 1990.
The first phase of the investigation has been completed, and a
preliminary report was made public earlier this week. A final report is due
at the end of the month. The second phase won't be completed until next year.
Others scheduled to testify are plant workers Jim Key of Paducah, Chris
Naas of Barlow, Randall Kepner of Kuttawa, D.R. Johnson of Paducah, Bill
Pease of West Paducah, Mike Roberts of Paducah and Phillip Foley of Symsonia.
Also, retired worker Eugene Stallion of Wickliffe, DOE whistleblower
Joe Carson of Oak Ridge, Tenn., McCracken County Judge-Executive Danny
Orazine, DOE Paducah Site Manager Jimmie Hodges, USEC General Manager
Howard Pulley, and Joseph Fitzgerald, DOE deputy assistant secretary for
worker health and safety in the Office of Environment, Safety and Health.
Information from the hearing will be used to help senators decide
funding priorities for removing hazardous waste from the plant, Bunning said.
Meanwhile, the postponed hearing by the House Commerce Subcommittee on
Oversight & Investigations has been rescheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday in
room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. Whitfield
sits on the committee.
The hearing was to have been Thursday but was called off because of the
threat of heavy wind and rain from Hurricane Floyd.