WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has awarded a third-party contract to perform an environmental impact study (EIS) in connection with a proposed federal corrections facility in Letcher County. The EIS will provide a detailed analysis of two potential sites, already identified by a lengthy site selection study. These sites include 584 acres in Roxana and 753 acres in Payne Gap.
"I'm thrilled to announce that the BOP is moving forward on a future federal prison in Letcher County," said Rogers, who has urged the federal agency to keep up progress for several years. "I applaud the diligence and tenacity of the Letcher County Planning Commission in rallying around this effort and pressing on during the site selection process. We've shown that our region has a high-quality, skilled workforce and we can meet this law enforcement need for service. The EIS is an important and encouraging step forward for Letcher and the surrounding counties and I"m proud to be a part of the team."
A January 2013 report by the Congressional Research Service observed a "historically unprecedented increase in the federal prison population" since 1980. The number of federal inmates increased from around 25,000 in 1980 to 219,000 in 2012, according to the report.
In 2006, Rogers secured an initial $5 million in Congress enabling the federal Bureau of Prisons to initiate the site planning and selection process, along with related environmental assessments for a possible Letcher County location. The EIS represents the next procedural step in the process of identifying and approving a Letcher County site for future correctional facility construction.