Local News

From Charles Compton, Kentucky Public Radio/WEKU, Richmond

The media tagged along as U-S Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman Ben Chandler toured the Bluegrass Army Depot in Madison County, Kentucky Tuesday. They visited the construction site of a plant which will one day destroy the depot’s chemical munitions.                 

The two lawmakers watched as workers poured a foundation for the Bluegrass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot plant. They hope to start the destruction of the depot’s chemical weapons stockpile within eight years. Many of the weapons continue their deterioration, but, Senator Mitch McConnell would not call for an earlier deadline.

“The law says 2017, we got it fully funded the last two years and we expect the deadline to be met,” McConnell said.

While open to an earlier deadline, Congressman Ben Chandler says the 2017 date took years to negotiate and selling an earlier deadline is problematic..

“Our people care deeply about it and it is extremely important for the welfare of the people who live in this region. But, it is very difficult to get people in California and New York and Florida and other places to get excited about it,” Chandler said.

Craig Williams, who heads a citizens group that monitors work at the Bluegrass Army Depot, praised McConnell. Williams says the Senate Minority Leader has worked tirelessly to fund clean-up work.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."