Until more families have been exposed to unsafe levels of carcinogens in their drinking water, state officials said that rural neighbors of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant are not a priority.
In a meeting with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) officials yesterday, we were told that the department receives enough money from the Army to hire 2 staff people. One person works on planning future land use and the other reviews contaminated sites that the Army recommends for closure – leaving virtually no staff time for dealing with the groundwater problems in and around the plant, they said.
Even while military toxins are present in drinking water wells nearly 2 miles from Badger, WDNR staff said that actively enforcing cleanup now, when contaminants levels are low, would set a “statewide precedent.”
“We cannot treat the Army differently than anyone else,” they said. “The Army is anxious to get this property transferred (to new owners) and they are prioritizing (contaminated) sites for us. Our job is to work together with the Army.”
When water contaminant levels climb, they said that the WDNR could try to find resources to hire necessary staff but cautioned that their environmental workforce is already shrinking. Perhaps the department could find funding to hire a temporary person, they offered.
At the end of the meeting, they asked for our opinion on one more thing: What do we think about the WDNR’s plans to pursue additional federal funding to take down buildings and put in hiking trails at Badger?
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Every year, the State receives federal funding for work at Badger through a Defense/State Memorandum of Agreement (DSMOA). Urge the Governor to assure that our environmental health is again a priority and that funding is used first to protect our groundwater and drinking water resources from military toxins.
Governor Jim Doyle
ATTN: Patrick Henderson
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707
To send an email message to Governor Doyle, go to:
If the link does not work, copy and paste the above address into your web browser. Or go to http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/ and click on “contact us.”