Congressman Ryan Announces Committee Approval of Bill to Benefit Pike County | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Ryan Announces Committee Approval of Bill to Benefit Pike County

July 19, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) today announced that he obtained $500,000 and several additional measures in a House Energy and Water spending bill that would benefit the community of Piketon and Pike County. Ryan, who recently met with workers and local officials in Piketon, worked with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Subcommittee to include several items in the Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Appropriations bill related to the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

The measures Ryan sought and won approval for include:

  • $500,000 to fund the creation of a community liaison to provide technical and regulatory assistance to the local community and surrounding counties
  • a requirement that DoE continue its air and ground water monitoring and increase the frequency of its reporting
  • a requirement that DoE develop a comprehensive, long-term land use plan for the Portsmouth Site in conjunction with surrounding counties
  • a requirement that DoE consult with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) on the results of ongoing independent radiological monitoring 
  • a requirement that ATSDR evaluate whether an epidemiological study or review of cancer rates is warranted following the independent monitoring

“For decades, the people of Southern Ohio worked tirelessly to ensure our nation had the resources to win the Cold War. Our government owes it to this community to ensure the Gaseous Diffusion Plant is decommissioned safely and transparently,” said Congressman Ryan. “The Department of Energy cannot be allowed to cut any corners when it comes to Ohioans’ safety and long-term health. I’m proud to have been able to deliver for Piketon and I will continue to work with my colleagues in both parties in the Senate and House to ensure these provisions pass Congress and are implemented in a timely manner by the Department of Energy.”

"Tim Ryan may not be from southern Ohio, but he understands our struggle,” said Pike County Commissioner Jerry Miller. “He has visited our community twice already this year, meeting with workers, teachers, and families whose children have died of rare cancers our community is convinced originated from the Department of Energy's Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. He has advocated directly with leaders in Congress and the Biden administration to clean up our community safely, and to invest to create good-paying jobs in Pike County for generations. Now, his work has put DOE on notice that they have to work closely with our community and do right by our families that dutifully served our nation for decades. Pike County thanks you, Congressman Ryan."

"As a longtime school superintendent in southern Ohio, I’m very thankful for Congressman Ryan raising the needs of my students and teachers in Washington,” said Scioto Valley Local School District Superintendent Wes Hairston. “His work to raise the profile of our need -- a new, safe middle school at Zahn's Corner, a building contaminated with radioactive isotopes from the Department of Energy's nearby Piketon facility -- has been incredible and valuable. We are grateful to Congressman Ryan and look forward to working with Congress and DOE to ensure a safe, equitable educational experience for the children of Pike County." 

"We have long required assurances from the federal government that, regardless of what results independent testing returns for Pike County in coming months, the Department of Energy will not walk away from our local needs and concerns,” said Pike County Health Commissioner Matt Brewster. “Congressman Tim Ryan's work on our community's behalf has put Congress in a position to put a commitment, in law, that the federal government will remain to a clean, safe and responsive clean up in Piketon.”

The House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill is scheduled to be voted on by the full House of Representatives the week of July 26th and will then head to the Senate for consideration.

Portsmouth Site report language accompanying the Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill:

Portsmouth Site.—The recommendation for the Community and Regulatory Support includes $500,000 above the budget request for the Department to establish a community liaison and to provide technical and regulatory assistance to the local community and surrounding counties. The Department is directed to continue its air and ground water monitoring efforts and increase the frequency of reporting results in a transparent manner. The Department is directed to develop a comprehensive land use plan in conjunction with the surrounding counties that establishes a vision and coordinated objectives for the long-term use of the Portsmouth Site

The Committee understands that a third-party effort is underway to collect environmental samples in the area. When the sampling effort is complete, the Department is directed to consult with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and provide to the Committee a briefing on the results. In the event that it is determined that updating the 1996 public health assessment is warranted, the Department is further directed to coordinate planning with the ATSDR, including an evaluation from ATSDR of whether an epidemiological study or comprehensive review of cancer rates in Pike and surrounding counties is warranted.

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