AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — New efforts are underway to clean up the Savannah River Site. The federal government has agreed to pay South Carolina $600 million and remove tons of plutonium by 2037.
The counties around the site are suing the state, saying they should get that money directly because their communities are suffering.
“The area around the Savannah River Site is the area that should receive at least the majority of these funds in one way or another,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.
Allendale and Barnwell are just some of the counties fighting for a portion of the $600 million. They argue their communities are losing out on jobs and money by having nuclear waste nearby. But the Department of Energy claims the plutonium poses no risk to surrounding communities.
“The communities that claim there’s an impact, they’re going to have a very difficult job before them to try to show there’s some additional risk posed to them,” Tom Clements, the director of the Savannah River Site Watch, explained.
It’s unclear if the state will divert funding to the counties. South Carolina’s attorney general says the lawsuit “has no merit.”