Gov. Strickland Visits Piketon;SONG Demands Piketon Investigation | October 17, 2007


SONG News Release:


Strickland Visits Piketon;

 SONG Demands Piketon Investigation

 as Architect of Nuclear Waste Plan Retires


    On Sunday, Ted Strickland paid his first visit as Governor to Pike County, where he was met by many opponents of the plan to store high-level nuclear waste at Piketon. Only hours later, the legislative architect of the waste storage plan, David Hobson, announced he will not seek reelection to Congress.

    Hobson is best known for securing big budget items for his suburban Dayton-Springfield district, as former chairman and now ranking member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He was not so kind to neighboring Ohio districts. The plan for Piketon would have made lots of money for contractors in the wealthy Dayton-Springfield area, but would have sent the waste south, to Appalachian Ohio, for dumping in a poor rural county.

    Strickland appeared in Pike County at noon, to speak in the gymnasium at Piketon High School. He was met by a decidedly split audience. About half of those in attendance had some affiliation with SODI, one of the contractors on the waste project. The other half had some affiliation with SONG: The Southern Ohio Neighbors Group. About twenty in the crowd sported red-white-and-blue SONG caps.

    In his speech, which focused on statewide and national issues, the governor did not once mention the atomic site at Piketon. It is likely the first time since 1952 that a major politician has spoken in Pike County without boostering for the atomic boondoggle du jour. The US Department of Energy, which owns the site, is now stuck in a compulsory multi-billion dollar cleanup of the site, without the funds to do it. The waste project would have drastically reduced cleanup costs by allowing much of the contamination to remain in place.

    After the talk, the governor was approached by three SONG representatives, who handed his aides copies of the SONG petition that now has over 5,000 area signatures. The petition opposes any importation, storage or reprocessing of high-level nuclear waste in southern Ohio, and calls for establishment of a Citizens Advisory Board.

    The three also gave the governor a letter (attached) that calls on Strickland to return to Pike County for a town meeting, and that demands a full investigation of fraudulent misrepresentations in the waste dumping proposal. The three were Kathleen Boutis, president of SONG from Hobson’s Congressional district; Geoffrey Sea, who owns a historic home on the fence line of the atomic site; and Denny Bloomfield, former president of the union that represents Piketon workers.

    The letter highlights a promise made by Strickland in last year’s campaign to oppose both waste storage and nuclear reprocessing at Piketon. The letter notes, however, that on April 27, Strickland sent a letter to the Energy Secretary endorsing reprocessing at Piketon. SONG is calling on the Governor to retract that letter.

    “Ted, keep your promise!” is the letter’s refrain, and the phrase was used on a large banner in the parking lot outside the gymnasium where Strickland spoke.



SONG: Southern Ohio Neighbors Group

P.O. Box 161, Piketon, OH  45661

E-Mail: SHIPPSONG@aol.com   Website: www.OhioNeighbors.org

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