Sauk County Board Approves Badger Reuse

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Last night, May 15, the Sauk County Board approved the Final Report of
the Badger Reuse Committee by an overwhelming majority of 21 – 7! The
report is the result of a nine-month long process that took literally
took thousands of hours to develop. The land uses selected by the
committee were agriculture, conservation, recreation, and wildlife
habitat.

A fundamental component of the Committee’s land-use plan addresses
environmental restoration. Recognizing a comprehensive cleanup is the
foundation for all other uses, the Committee’s report included a number
of specific criterion that will ensure cleanup is protective of natural
systems, including soil, air, water, and biodiversity. Other
communities, without a consensus process and final report, have not
fared as well. At Fort McCoy, for example, groundwater beneath its
bombing ranges is not safe to drink; the Army contends no one is
drinking the water so no cleanup is necessary. At Pennsylvania’s Army
Ammunition Plant, every single site has been “cleaned up” to industrial
standards; this means these sites will never again be suitable for
gardening, housing, a playground, or a park. These communities did not
have a public consensus process to leverage a better cleanup.

Now approved, the Reuse Committee’s report will be a powerful tool to
ensure our community gets the best possible cleanup. The report came
too late for the new mercury landfill at Badger. The 20-acre site will
forever be fenced; deed restrictions will prohibit future use. This
site will never again be suitable for farming or prairie restoration or
for a park. However, it is not too late for most of the other
contaminated sites at Badger.

For more than 11 years, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger has worked
to get Badger cleaned up and preserved for future generations. More
than 9 years ago, CSWAB posted a billboard on Highway 12 — “Restore the
Prairie, not the Ammo Plant!” Today, we are closer than ever to making
this vision a reality. The work of everyday community members like you
has paved the way for a promising and healthy future, but there is still
much to be done. Federal funding and authority must now be secured to
implement the recommendations of the committee. Together, we will
accomplish this next step. Your support continues to be our strength.
Thank you.

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