By Bill Bartleman firstname.lastname@example.org
More current and former workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant will be tested for lung disease this year because of a supplemental funding bill given final approval Friday by the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, said the spending bill allocates $3.3 million for a mobile lung screening unit and the cost of operating it. The bill also includes $8 million to speed removal of contaminated materials from the site.
McConnell was a member of the House-Senate conference committee that drafted the final spending bill. The measure was approved late Thursday by the House and now goes to President Clinton for his signature.
The supplemental funding for these and other projects was included in a military construction appropriations bill.
"The health of the workers at the plant is my top priority," McConnell said. "This important funding will enable the Department of Energy to begin addressing the medical, health and safety concerns of the workers."
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning said, "We really needed this money to continue our commitment to the workers at the plant as well as to the surrounding community."
The original plan was to test former workers for only five years. This funding will allow those former workers to be screened in less time and allow for the screening of current workers.
The lung scanner detects early signs of lung disease that, if treated early, prevent cancer.
Meanwhile, Bunning said the bill also included the following military projects at Fort Campbell:
--$9.4 million for the Market Garden Roads Barracks Complex.
--$4.5 million for the Special Operations Equipment Maintenance Complex.
--$5.4 million for the Special Operations Flight Simulator Facility.
--$6.4 million for the Special Operations Tactical Equipment Complex.
--$20 million for the Lee Village Family Housing Complex.
--$7.8 million for the Gardner Hills Family Housing Complex.