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McConnell's efforts to aid PGDP workers, projects praiseworthy

By KEN WHEELER Paducah

EDITOR:

Those of us who closely follow events at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) are well aware of Sen. Mitch McConnell's decades of advocacy on behalf of the workers and jobs at the facility. Over the years, Sen. McConnell worked to establish the medical monitoring program for PGDP employees and retirees that provides mobile CT scans to screen for early stages of cancer; he worked to enact a law ensuring PGDP employees are appropriately compensated for their nuclear work-related injuries; he authored the law that brought the DUF-6 disposal facility to Paducah; and most recently - along with Sen. Paul and Rep. Whitfield - encouraged the Department of Energy to use the PGDP's uranium tails in a way that brings economic development to Paducah. This effort led to the Thanksgiving announcement regarding the Global Laser Enrichment (GE) proposal.

What may be less well known is that Sen. McConnell is also working behind the scenes to help Paducah in ways that are not as obvious. Over the last few months, he has used his leadership position and seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure additional cleanup funding for the PGDP that was included in the recently-enacted omnibus appropriations bill. This bill appropriated $265 million for cleanup activities at the PGDP for fiscal year 2014, which is $3 million more than the administration's request to Congress for the project. The cleanup work this funding provides will create jobs and help make our community environmentally cleaner and safer. I am thankful to Sen. McConnell for his efforts and grateful to have him in Washington fighting on behalf of Paducah and Kentucky's interests.

KEN WHEELER

Paducah

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