While President Obama was crisscrossing the state touting the supposed benefits of his jobs bill (a plan that didn’t even receive unanimous support from Senate Democrats and ultimately failed in Congress), he could—with the stroke of a pen—create more than 4,000 jobs here in Ohio and move America down the road to greater energy security. It was disappointing that President Obama did not promise to invest in the construction of the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon during his speech in Ohio near the Brent Spence Bridge back in September.

For nearly a decade, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) has been developing and successfully testing a centrifuge technology capable of producing the enriched uranium necessary to fuel America’s nuclear power plants. Without loan guarantees to match the dollars already invested, the project will wither, and with it the hopes of creating a reliable source of fuel for America’s nuclear power industry along with the jobs it currently sustains. Weaning America from foreign sources of energy should be a priority for Washington these days, but the fine words and assurances that we often hear have not been matched by action.

It seemed disingenuous for the president to visit the state while touting his jobs plan, without even mentioning a proposal that would bring about 4,000 jobs to the area. Instead, President Obama has sadly been focused on creating political illusions to pass his plan for jobs. Don’t get me wrong; the Brent Spence Bridge is an important project, but the job gain is temporary at best. Mr. President, we need to focus on the long-term, good-paying jobs Ohioans can count on.

President Obama repeatedly voiced his support for nuclear investment. In February 2010, he said that new nuclear power plants are a “necessity” and something to which his administration was committed. He said this after announcing the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia—something he said would create thousands of jobs.

Now, a similar opportunity is available in Ohio, but unfortunately the president no longer appears interested in making such an investment, despite the job creation opportunity it presents to our state.

After two years of indecision about approving USEC’s bid to invest $2 billion in an operational enrichment facility in Piketon, the Obama Administration needs to act and approve the loan guarantees necessary to bring the kind of jobs to southwest Ohio that our state needs.

Here in Ohio, the Piketon project is shovel-ready. Thousands of our neighbors are ready to start working and building a project important to them and to our national security interests.

It’s decision time, Mr. President.


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