FEINGOLD, KOHL, BALDWIN GO TO BAT FOR SAUK COUNTY JOBS
Wisconsin Members of Congress Oppose Funding Cut for Badger Ammunition That Will Leave At Least 45 Percent of Plant's Workforce Jobless
U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl and U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin are urging the U.S. Army to reverse its decision to cut funding for the Badger Army Ammunition Plant. The Army recently decided to allocate Badger Ammunition less than five percent of what it needs to carry out its demolition, explosive safety, security and environmental compliance duties, despite the Army's obligation to fund the work of the plant. The loss in funding has led to 45 percent of the plant's workforce being laid off. Additional layoffs, project delays, and increased start-up and workforce retraining costs can be expected if the Army does not provide funding. In a letter to the Secretary of the Army Peter Geren, Feingold, Kohl, and Baldwin ask that the Army fulfill its obligation to Badger Ammunition and restore funding immediately.
"I was very concerned when I learned that members of the highly trained workforce at the Badger Ammunition Plant would lose their jobs with little or no warning because the Army has decided to withhold funds," Feingold said. "The Army's decision to cut Badger's funding comes at a tremendous cost to the people of Sauk County."
"Though the Army is under a major financial burden these days, it still has a commitment to clean up and restore the site of Badger Ammunition," Kohl said. "Because contaminants from the plant could pose long-standing health and environmental risks for Sauk residents, this clean-up project should continue moving forward."
"It's been 10 years since the Army declared this excess property. The Army has a legal and moral obligation to complete the clean-up so that the reuse plan is implemented without further delay. I urge the Secretary to reconsider this decision," said Congresswoman Baldwin.
The lead contractor at Badger Ammunition recently announced it would lay off 46 full-time employees starting February 1st. Sixteen full-time employees were laid off in January. Those whose jobs are in jeopardy are working to restore Badger Ammunition's Baraboo property so it can be transferred from the military to local, state, tribal, and other entities that have coalesced around a shared vision to maintain Badger's natural and cultural features. Prior to the Army's announcement that it was cutting fiscal year 2008 funds, the project was on track to be transferred by early 2011.