WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced that the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has signed a Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the construction of a high security prison in Letcher County, Kentucky. The ROD is a public document, the final step in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and it officially signals the agency’s intent to move forward with this important project.
“With funding in place and the completion of environmental studies, today’s announcement is a tremendous milestone for Letcher County and the surrounding area,” said Congressman Rogers. “This new high security prison will create hundreds of new jobs in a region that has been plagued by the downturn in the coal industry. BOP estimates the facility alone will have 300-400 employees, and we’ll see hundreds of indirect jobs as well. The Letcher County Planning Commission has done an incredible job muddling through this complex process and preparing the community for this important project.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed the Congressman of the BOP’s decision this afternoon. BOP selected a 700-acre site on reclaimed mine land in Roxana for the facility.
“Not only will this project be a long-term economic shot in the arm for Eastern Kentucky, but it will also provide much needed relief for the federal prison system,” said Rogers. “BOP still has challenges with overcrowding in high security prisons. This new facility will help increase safety and security for inmates and prison staff alike.”
Congressman Rogers first secured $5 million to study several potential sites in Letcher County in Fiscal Year 2006. Since then, BOP has been engaged in an extensive process to identify a suitable location and conduct the required environmental studies. The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed in September 2017. While Congressman Rogers chaired the House Appropriations Committee, Congress secured roughly $500 million necessary to construct the prison ($444 million in Fiscal Year 2016 and $50 million in Fiscal Year 2017).
BOP will next begin the process of acquiring the land that will comprise the site of the new prison, which they expect will take roughly 12 months. They will also begin to work with local officials on infrastructure improvements that may be needed to support the new prison. Local leaders have already begun to plan for these upgrades and have applied for federal funds for support.