The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Monday, March 18, 2002

Agency shouldn't play games with cleanup money


EDITOR:

I attended the Department of Energy's public meeting on Feb. 27 that presented the new "game show" by the secretary of energy, Abraham, dialing for cleanup dollars. All the state EPA, stakeholders, and local DOE site managers have to do is come up with a fast, cheap cleanup and they will win part of an $800 million jackpot!

Funny, I seem to remember a similar game we played before. And I thought we won the prize. But now the president has reneged and taken away the prize money.

But isn't it going to take a lot of time to come up with the winning answer? Will this waste precious time? Is the cheaper and faster cleanup going to further compromise the workers' and plant neighbors' health? Less money and less time spent for cleanup, monitoring, and environmental assessment jeopardizes us all.

DOE shouldn't forget that it has a legal and moral responsibility under the federal facilities agreements to request enough money to meet the needed safest cleanup process. There are other legal documents they can't ignore. The money should go to where it is needed not for the site with the slickest cleanup entry.

DOE is already guilty of cutting corners in the protection of human health. This $800 million slush fund will further reinforce this bad behavior. The DOE should not play this dangerous game.

KRISTI HANSON

Brookport, Ill.