U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said he is focused on maintaining a full workforce at the Savannah River Site now that the Site has recently received its requested funding.
The congressman held an SRS Roundtable meeting on Friday afternoon at Aiken Electric Cooperative. There, community and elected leaders from Aiken and Barnwell counties, as well as SRS contractors, joined in a discussion that was closed off to the media.
After the meeting, Wilson told the Standard that the meeting was an update for participants to discuss the Site and any related issues.
“I wanted to get input from every level on what can be done to improve the climate at SRS,” Wilson said. “Getting funding was extremely critical, and that effort was not about me; it was everyone working together to get funding for SRS.”
Wilson added that if funding had not been granted, the results could've been “catastrophic” for families. In terms of budgeting, he said he was pleased that funding for the MOX facility was increased.
“Each percentage of completion for the MOX facility is positive,” he said. “I also wanted to get input on other important waste and environmental cleanup and national security issues, as well. So it was a great exchange.”
From here, Wilson said there are several issues pertaining to the Site that he will continue to work on. These include: the federal debt limit, issues relating to National Defense Authorization Act – which affects the MOX program – and the omnibus bill for the 2015 fiscal year.
“Moving forward, it is imperative that we bring attention to the role SRS plays in protecting our national security,” he added in a press release. “I am confident that as we continue to garner additional support for these missions, both within our state delegation and nationally, this goal will be achieved.”
Also in attendance was David Jameson, Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. Jameson said the meeting was a general discussion on Site issues and how Wilson's office has been involved.
“He spoke about what they're staying on top of now and what they might look at in the future,” Jameson said. “He asked the group if there were any additions or deletions to what he spoke about, and the group seemed pretty satisfied that he was heading in the right direction.”
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.