Jul 26 2006

South Carolina and Georgia Congressional Delegations Meet with DOE Secretary and OMB Director

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) yesterday hosted a meeting with Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman, Senators Jim DeMint, Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson and Representatives Gresham Barrett, Joe Wilson, and Charlie Norwood. The group gathered to discuss Savannah River Site issues. They made the following statements following the meeting. “Future budget certainty for the Site is a great concern for those in the region,” said Graham. “Every year we are confronted with major budget cuts and find ourselves fighting for level funding. I felt it was important to bring the key players in the room to discuss long-term funding strategies for cleanup and future missions. We had a very productive meeting and I appreciate Secretary Bodman and Director Portman’s work in helping move the MOX program and cleanup efforts forward. We discussed various technical, regulatory, and funding issues affecting current and future operations of the Site. We all share the same goal of moving forward with the MOX program and continuing our cleanup efforts in the most efficient, safe, technically sound, and cost-effective manner possible. I think today’s meeting was a positive development and will help us achieve our common goals in the future.” “I believe our message was well received by Secretary Bodman and Director Portman,” said Chambliss. “They both understand the national importance of the Savannah River Site. The meeting provided us an opportunity to present the case for a stable, robust funding stream for the Savannah River Site. I was pleased to hear of the Administration’s strong support for moving forward with the MOX program and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this critical program is funded.” “Secretary Bodman has clearly focused much of his time on MOX and the Site’s cleanup, and I’m encouraged he says the Site is one of his highest priorities,” said DeMint. “Director Portman’s experience on these issues and willingness to work with the state delegations makes me optimistic we can put the Site on a stable and predictable path.” “I was pleased to join with my colleagues from Georgia and South Carolina in presenting a unified message on the Savannah River Site cleanup,” said Isakson. “We had a very productive meeting and reiterated the importance of the MOX program and the need to continue our cleanup efforts.” "I appreciate Senator Graham coordinating this meeting and bringing all parties to the table,” said Wilson. “The future of the Savannah River Site is of vital importance to the people of the Second Congressional District of South Carolina. While we continue to face budgetary and logistical issues, we remain focused on moving forward with the MOX program and expediting waste cleanup. Secretary Bodman and Director Portman are in full cooperation, and I am confident this meeting was a step in the right direction." "It was necessary to bring everyone together and talk about long-term strategies for the site, and I appreciate Senator Graham taking the lead and making that happen," said Barrett. "I feel good about the direction we are headed. We are all on the same page as it relates to moving MOX forward and ensuring the clean-up efforts continue in a way that is both safe and cost-effective. There is no doubt that the SRS has a lot to offer South Carolina and the country. Today's meeting was a great step in making sure we move forward in a smart manner." #####