The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Cleanup agreement still unsigned by Department of Energy
The signed agreement would mean tens of millions of dollars in additional cleanup funds for Paducah.

By Bill Bartleman bbartleman@paducahsun.com--270.575.8650

There was still no signed agreement between Kentucky state government and the U.S. Department of Energy regarding accelerated cleanup at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, even though DOE notified Gov. Paul Patton and members of the state's congressional delegation that it would be signed Tuesday.

Ed Ford, secretary of Patton's cabinet, said there was no indication DOE won't sign the agreement Patton negotiated last week with Jessie Roberson, the DOE deputy in charge of cleanup.

"The governor did receive a call from Ms. Roberson who said that everything was OK and that it would be signed (Tuesday)," Ford said. "But we haven't gotten it. It is just the bureaucracy up there (in Washington). We are anticipating receiving that in the morning."

DOE also notified U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield on Tuesday that the signed agreement would be delivered to Patton by the end of the day.

The agreement resolves a two-year dispute over DOE's reluctance to set deadlines, or milestones, for completing cleanup of the most serious contamination at the plant, where uranium is enriched into nuclear fuel. DOE said setting deadlines creates costly bureaucracy that actually delays cleanup work. The state insisted on deadlines, saying it was the only means for holding DOE accountable for having the work completed on time.

The signed agreement would mean tens of millions of dollars in additional cleanup funds for Paducah.