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McConnell reaffirms support for prison

Saying he is a “longtime advocate” of the continuing effort to build a federal prison at Roxana, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has pledged to help protect the $510 million in funding that has been awarded for the project.

In a letter to Letcher County Planning Commission Chairman Elwood Cornett, McConnell wrote, “As you know, I am a longtime advocate for this important project and committed to protecting its federal funding.”

McConnell, a Republican from Louisville, is the Senate’s majority leader, making him the body’s highest-ranking member. Cornett wrote to him to ask for his continued support about a month after the U.S. Bureau of Prisons withdrew its “Record of Decision,” a document that had authorized the purchase of about 800 acres of land at Roxana. The Bureau said the action was related to questions concerning the environmental assessment of the prison site.

McConnell also told Cornett, who has led the effort to get the prison here for nearly 15 years, that he appreciates his “dedication, and that of the Letcher County Planning Commission to seeing the proposed Letcher County federal prison is built.”

U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers has steadfastly maintained that the prison will be built here as planned.

Rogers, who was instrumental in getting the $510 million allocated to the project during the Obama administration, has also said the House Appropriations Committee, which Rogers once chaired, would continue to reject the Trump administration’s efforts to take the $510 million back and use it for other purposes.

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