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home : local news : local news
January 20, 2018

1/12/2018 1:04:00 PM
City pressed on Pike disposal facility
Proponents, opponents speak again at Jackson Council meeting
Jackson resident and Geiger Brothers Contracting Chief Executive Officer Scott Massie (standing, left) points to a map of the former gaseous diffusion plant in Pike County while making comments at the Jan. 8 meeting of Jackson City Council regarding the construction of an on-site disposal facility. Also pictured are Jackson City Councilmen Jon Ondera (standing, right) and seated (from the left), George Kitchen and Butch Aldrich. (Telegram Photos By Pete Wilson)

Jackson resident and Geiger Brothers Contracting Chief Executive Officer Scott Massie (standing, left) points to a map of the former gaseous diffusion plant in Pike County while making comments at the Jan. 8 meeting of Jackson City Council regarding the construction of an on-site disposal facility. Also pictured are Jackson City Councilmen Jon Ondera (standing, right) and seated (from the left), George Kitchen and Butch Aldrich. (Telegram Photos By Pete Wilson)

Pictured is The Rev. Terry Williams of the Orchard Hill Church of Christ in Chillicothe, who was one of two persons to speak at the Jan. 8 meeting of Jackson City Council against the on-site disposal facility being built at the site of the former gaseous diffusion plant in Pike County.

Pictured is The Rev. Terry Williams of the Orchard Hill Church of Christ in Chillicothe, who was one of two persons to speak at the Jan. 8 meeting of Jackson City Council against the on-site disposal facility being built at the site of the former gaseous diffusion plant in Pike County.

Should Jackson City Council take a public position over whether a project should go forward to build an on-site nuclear waste disposal facility at the former site of the gaseous diffusion plant in Pike County? And what should that position be?

Those questions have yet to be answered as a public debate on the issue continues to be played out at recent Jackson City Council meetings. Three more speakers addressed the issue -- two con and one pro -- at council's most recent meeting on Monday, Jan. 8, but currently there is no piece of legislation to vote on one way or another.

A resolution of opposition was previously considered by council, but a vote was later taken to table it. Opponents have continued to push for council to vote on the issue and several councilmen have since voiced the opinion that council should do this. However, Council President Eric Brown told The Telegram there has been no formal request for another resolution to be introduced, but that he expects this to happen, based on recent comments from councilmen.

Speaking at the Jan. 8 meeting in opposition to the disposal facility were The Rev. Terry Williams of the Orchard Hill Church of Christ in Chillicothe and Waverly Mayor Greg Kempton.

Speaking in support of the project was Scott Massie, the chief executive officer of Geiger Brothers Contractors of Jackson.

Proponents of the project point out it has already been approved by the federal and state regulators and that scientific experts believe it is the safest and best way to deal with the waste material. Moreover, the cleanup and construction work has created jobs at the site and will ultimately prepare the site for greater economic development opportunities.

Opponents of the project are concerned about the potential health and safety dangers of keeping the waste material on site and feel the best solution would be to transport it off the site to a more remote location. They believe the current project has been chosen mainly because it's the cheapest option.

Speakers: The Pro and Con

Rev. Williams told the council audience that he was participating in the discussion in Jackson as a neighbor. He referenced being involved in the dialogue which occurred at a recent meeting of Chillicothe City Council as well as a letter written by an 8-year-old girl who is a member of his church.

He admitted he lacked the scientific knowledge of other experts who have weighed in on the issue, but indicated that as he has learned more, he has become concerned about possible health and safety hazards which could result for the local population.


"I question whether the science is sound," Rev. Williams said while referring to alleged "misstatements and errors" made by DOE and the federal government regarding the disposal facility project. "We need to take a pause and see what the science really is."

Rev. Williams also opined the site will never be redeveloped if the disposal issues are not done right.

Mayor Kempton has joined with Piketon Mayor Billy Spencer as being local Pike County municipal government opponents of the on-site disposal facility project. He says he has reviewed the Ohio EPA report and feels there is "nothing that is definitive or absolute" regarding the "structural integrity" of the disposal facility.

Kempton concluded that the on-site disposal facility was chosen only because it's the "less expensive option" and it would be better for the community to ship out the waste material.

Massie, who also spoke at council's Nov. 27 meeting, explained he was returning to address the possibility that a second resolution of opposition was in the pipeline. He introduced himself as "a Jackson resident for nearly all my life, and a lifelong advocate for all things that are Southeastern Ohio." He is familiar with the project and operations at the Pike County site as his company (Geiger Brothers) has and is doing work there.

"...I support this project because it clearly is the best way to accomplish the stated goal of closure and re-purposing of the site," Massie stated. "I would never support a project that I thought could endanger human health specifically or our area generally."

Alluding to the conflicting and dissenting opinions regarding the safety of the on-site disposal facility, Massie says it comes down to whether one chooses to believe in a report from The Ferguson Group, which he described as a "paid Washington, D.C. lobbyist firm" or the conclusions of Fluor, which he called "the largest engineering and construction company in the world," and other governmental agencies such as the Ohio EPA, the U.S. EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

"...Some may choose to still believe a paid Washington, D.C. lobbyist firm that has never designed/built anything in-house," Massie declared. "I will rely on the engineers, geologists, scientists, professional experts and the aforementioned state/federal oversight agencies to support my position."

Massie also used a site map to demonstrate what he feels is the physical impossibility of cutting up vacant buildings into sized pieces and shipping them off site. He contends this could never be done and the site could not then be repurposed, which is the ultimate goal.

Massie concluded, "I think there is one thing the opponents and proponents of the site can agree on: It is high time to bring closure to the facility - once and for all. We differ only on the methodology. I support the currently envisioned plan which projects completion in 2038 and urge you to vote down any future resolution that would favor extending this date and kicking the can even further down the road."



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Article comment by: Dorothy Spencer

Of course you would be for it because your people are employed by YOU work there MASSIE



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