Army Gags Badger RAB Members

by Free Speech on March 23, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI
4/23/10

Army officials have ordered rural neighbors of Wisconsin’s Badger Army Ammunition Plant to suppress an environmental report by an independent consultant working with the local Restoration Advisory Board (RAB).

“Immediately following last night’s public meeting, an Army official pushed a document in front me saying that the gag order recently sent to our consultant also applies to me,” said Laura Olah, a rural neighbor of the Badger plant and chair of the committee that secured the RAB’s technical advisor. “I was also told to contact anyone who has received a copy of the report and withdraw it until the Army has first reviewed and approved it.”

The 11-page technical review, which was simultaneously provided to both the RAB and the military, is critical of an Army proposal that would allow higher levels of contamination on properties that are slated for transfer to the State of Wisconsin, Bluffview Sanitary District, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

In particular, the Army wants to designate certain areas at Badger as “industrial” which would allow the military to leave much higher levels of soil contamination than currently approved by the Wisconsin DNR.  The Army wants to increase allowed levels of the carcinogenic explosive 2,6-DNT, for example, from 4.29 to 620 parts per million (ppm).  Soil cleanup goals for lead would increase from 30 to 500 ppm.

“Having an independent qualified provider contributes to environmental restoration activities at the plant and will help achieve the best possible cleanup,” Olah added. “Maybe that’s what the Army is afraid of.”

The RAB’s environmental consultant was hired under a program called Technical Assistance for Public Participation (TAPP).  The federal program was established by a 1995 amendment to the Defense Authorization Act co-authored by U.S. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.  The RAB conducted a national search and selected Virginia-based Environmental Stewardship Concepts (ESC) as its TAPP advisor in 2008.

RAB members who supported hiring ESC include Mary Carol Solum (At Large Member), Paul Herr (Town of Merrimac), Ken Lins (At Large Member), Mary Jane Koch (At Large Member), Michele Hopp (Village of Merrimac), Laura Olah (Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger), Charlie Wilhelm, (At Large Member), Lance Delaney (At Large Member), William T. Stehling (At Large Member), Richard Anderson (At Large Member), Ron Lins (Town of Prairie du Sac), O.J. Befera (City of Baraboo), William F. Wenzel (Village of Prairie du Sac), and Judy Ashford (Sauk County).

Since 1994, RABs have been established at over 300 installations and properties in the United States and its territories to encourage communities and installations to identify and discuss potential environmental restoration issues.  TAPP funding is provided by the Department of Defense and is available to community members of the RAB at installations participating in the Defense Environmental Restoration Program.

The next meeting of the Badger RAB is scheduled for April 26 beginning at 6:30 pm at Badger Army Ammunition Plant.   All RAB meetings are open to the public.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bear March 25, 2010 at 9:49 AM

I can’t believe Army personnel giving orders to a civilian!!! What’s happening at Badger that would allow this type of behavior? Unless there was a change in command at Badger this person would be Joan Kenny. There has been way to much cover up and hemhawing at Badger for clean up and it is time for the US government to step up and do the right thing and stop dragging thier feet and just clean this mess up. It’s only been 20 + years that the Army has fought clean up for our communities and environment. What the Army can get away with here they can get away with at other bases and in other communities. Heard about Camp Legune? That is Marines – US Military. We would be well on our way to a better environment IF the Army would step up instead of continually stepping down. This is your tax dollar at work……..

2 Prairie Walker March 24, 2010 at 5:32 PM

I can’t believed this, it is an independent report, how can we get the name of the army Official, I think this is very inappropriate coming from the Army personnel.

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