DOD Consultant Explores Options for Badger

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Many Local Stakeholders Not Included in Process

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact Laura Olah, Executive Director

MERRIMAC — Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger has learned a
Virginia-based consulting firm called BAHR (Businesses of Adams, Hargett
and Riley, Inc.) has been under contract with the U.S. Army and Navy
since November 2000. BAHR is exploring ways to accelerate the transfer
of federal sites like Badger to federal and private conservation
groups a process that so far has not included a number of important
local stakeholders.

According to documents obtained by CSWAB, one of the suggested benefits
to the U.S. Army and Department of Defense is a total cost savings on
environmental cleanup. BAHR’s proposal involves the early transfer
authority of multiple excess federal properties to a third party, such
as a conservation group, while they are being cleaned up. This
“bundling” would allow the transfer of numerous sites simultaneously. A
fundamental component of this proposition is “environmental insurance”
which would provide liability protection to final or interim
landholders.

Part of BAHR’s scope of work includes identifying excess and surplus
military properties that have high conservation and recreational value
on a national basis and might benefit from such a conveyance. Although
the site selection process is not entirely complete, Badger is a likely
candidate given its significant conservation value, reports Rebecca
Rubin, an executive consultant with the firm.

As part of this DoD initiative, BAHR is also working on a study to
determine the feasibility of transferring federal properties while they
are still “dirty” and having the cleanup performed by the recipient.
This latter approach has been used numerous times by the Army and Navy
and is usually at the request of the future owner, Rubin said. However
this would be considered on a case by case basis, she added.

In a separate but related initiative, the U.S. Navy has drafted
legislative language in a coordinated effort with the Army, Air Force,
Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. This general
conveyance approach would permit the military to convey surplus federal
property directly to a nonprofit conservation group, Rubin said. The
proposed legislation would give the head of the military department
authority to make such a conveyance. “Surplus” federal property has
been declared excess by a particular federal agency and is determined by
the U.S. General Services Administration to be no longer required by the
federal government as a whole.

Under the direction of the Army, BAHR initiated a series of
teleconference calls and local meetings beginning in January of this
year, Rubin said. The purpose was to brief more than a dozen government
and conservation entities about this overall initiative and to explain
how it might apply to Badger excluded from this dialogue, however,
were town and village boards, including the Township of Merrimac and
Village of Prairie du Sac, the Ho-Chunk Nation, CSWAB, and other local
stakeholders.

The initial Department of Defense contract with BAHR ended in late June
and will likely be extended for an additional year, Rubin said. BAHR’s
recommendations will now go to the Department of Defense for
consideration and shared with other key federal agencies such as the
Fish & Wildlife Service and National Park Service, she said.

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger was first organized by neighbors
of the Badger plant in 1990. Led by a board of local community members,
CSWAB plays a critical role in assuring nearby residents know the extent
of local pollution, facilities are adequately cleaned up, and future use
does not threaten natural systems. For more information, visit their
website at www.cswab.org

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