Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rep. Schmidt on DOE's Piketon Decision

Washington , D.C. – Today Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, whose district includes the Department of Energy’s Piketon facility, sent President Obama a letter imploring him to keep his word and overturn the Department of Energy’s decision to deny USEC a loan guarantee for the construction of the American Centrifuge Plant. The action by the Department of Energy will cost approximately 5,700 workers their jobs and end the prospect of another 2,300 jobs that had been planned this year.

“Mr. President, you wrote Governor Strickland on September 2, 2008 and said that the current workforce in Piketon and the surrounding areas 'will play a critical role in our national domestic energy supply through private sector and government initiatives.' In that letter to Governor Strickland, you further added, 'Under my administration, energy programs that promote safe and environmentally sound technologies and are domestically produced, such as the enrichment facility in Ohio , will have my full support. I will work with the Department of Energy to help make loan guarantees available for this and other advanced-energy programs that reduce carbon emissions and break the tie to high cost, foreign energy sources,'” Schmidt stated in her letter to President Obama.

Late last evening the White House organized a hastily-arranged conference call with legislators to announce that the Department of Energy would not issue a loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Plant as it is authorized to do by Congress. This morning USEC announced it was “demobilizing” the project.

“I encourage everyone from the Governor to every resident of our community to call the White House at 202.456.1414 and ask the President, in the strongest possible terms, to reconsider. He is our only hope at this point,” Schmidt concluded.