The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Wednesday, July 19, 2000
Paducah, Kentucky

Committee approves cleanup bill
The Senate Appropriations Committee also approved a bill providing $1 million for an emergency response system in Paducah.

WASHINGTON--Legislation calling for increased funding for cleanup at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant moved one step closer Tuesday to final approval in the U.S. Senate.

The bill, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, allocates $78 million from the Decontamination and Decommissioning Fund that was established when the uranium enrichment industry was privatized almost two years ago.

Also included is $33 million for a depleted uranium conversion plant that will be used to recycle more than 60,000 cylinders of depleted uranium. The figure represents an increase of $9 million over previous funding. Sen. Mitch McConnell requested the funding.

The bill must still be approved on the Senate floor, after which a House-Senate conference committee would work out differences between the Senate bill and a version already approved by the House.

The bill also includes $1.75 million for an epidemiological study of workers at the Paducah plant and contains language urging the U.S. Department of Energy to extend lung screening to include all current workers.

The appropriations panel also approved $27.76 million for construction of a new lock at Kentucky Dam and $53.1 million for continued construction of the Olmsted lock and dam on the Ohio River between Ballard County and Olmsted, Ill.

The committee also approved another bill of local interest that provides $1 million for an emergency response system in Paducah. The funding would allow Paducah and McCracken County to complete the installation of the Public Safety Mobile Data System, which allows police and other emergency personnel to share and coordinate information including 911 calls and criminal records.

In still another funding bill, the Senate has approved $1 million for the Clark's River National Wildlife Refuge. Half the money would be for land purchase and half to build a storage barn and visitors' center.