PADUCAH — A $1.7 trillion federal spending bill that President Joe Biden signed on Thursday, Dec. 29 earmarked funds for work at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The 2023 spending bill specified $2 million would go toward funding a reindustrialization study to evaluate PGDP for future economic uses following the completion of its deconstruction.
This $2 million for the study is part of the $344.9 million allocated to support workers performing environmental cleanup operations at PGDP. The $344.9 million in funds for PGDP also includes a $48 million plus-up, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce President Sandra Wilson said.
Getting funds from the federal government to support a reindustrialization study has been a priority for the Paducah chamber for the past two years. Wilson said chamber representatives met with representatives from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office, Congressman James Comer’s office and DOE officials during the chamber’s 2021 and 2022 trips to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the importance of this study for the region.
“We really appreciate the fact that Senator McConnell and Congressman Comer included this $2 million for the study in the budget,” Wilson said. “It’s needed, and it will give us a great roadmap for the future of the site.”
The study will include a review of the land at the site, a look at the regional workforce, and insight into future initiatives that could happen at the site. The study should also inform leaders of the types of industries that should be targeted for marketing purposes, Wilson added.
Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization Executive Committee Chair Eddie Jones said members of the Paducah chamber and PACRO representatives, including PACRO Executive Director Greg Wiles, had several meetings with McConnell’s office and Comer’s office to discuss funding for the reindustrialization study. Jones said he’s proud of Wiles representing PACRO’s interest in advocating for the study, and is glad to have Wiles leading the organization.
“I’m proud of the work PACRO Executive Director Greg Wiles put into this lobbying effort to bring attention and funding to the need to create new economic development real estate out of DOE property,” Jones told The Paducah Sun.
Wiles thanked McConnell, Comer and the DOE for their efforts to make sure there were funds specifically dedicated for a reindustrialization study for PDGP.
Wiles said the study would help give PACRO and area leaders a timeline for when parts of the land at the PGDP plant could be expected to be ready for use.
“As cleanup goes on, there’s going to be chances to transfer part of the facilities, the land to be reused. What’s the best purpose to reuse it?” Wiles said.
“With the study, maybe it has some sort of timeline. What’s it going to look like, what’s the best marketing? What industries should we go after to reestablish industry on the site?” he added.