The state's efforts to allow the use of 665 acres of land in the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area for economic development plans relating to the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant should not dramatically affect local recreation, according to officials.
The resolution approved Friday by the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission asks the federal government to lift restrictions on how the tract, adjacent to the atomic plant, can be used. The West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area currently covers 6,560 acres. The land for the wildlife area was given to the state by the federal government at no cost.
"Although our primary focus remains what is in the best interests of our sportsmen and women and resources of the commonwealth, there is a greater good at issue here, and that is the benefit of the people of western Kentucky," said Stuart Ray, commission chairman. Efforts will continue to provide amenities such as a dog training field course and dove field at the wildlife area, he said.
District 1 Commissioner Terry Teitloff of Calvert City echoed that the group's commitment to area sportsmen remains strong, and that the economic development opportunity is a "unique one, and one we didn't feel we could stand in the way of."
The opportunity involves plans by GE Hitachi to apply for a license to construct the Global Laser Enrichment project. Approval for construction of the new plant is requested by November 2016, according to a Jan. 20 letter of intent from the GLE to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Chad Chancellor, president of Paducah Economic Development, said Friday's action continues to clear the way to attract new jobs, especially in anticipated new construction related to the project. "We're very optimistic about it. Everything that needs to be happening is happening. It's a very good step."
Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8687.