2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 10:21:04 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Badger RAB Tells Army to Take a Hike!
[This was posted to the list by Laura Olah <olah@speagle.com>]


For Immediate Release
December 1, 2000

For more information, contact:
Laura Olah (608) 643-3124
Member, Badger Environmental Board of Advisors
Executive Director, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

Badger RAB Tells Army to Take a Hike!

WISCONSIN -- Despite brazen pressure from the U.S. Army including 
threats of dissolution and discontinued federal funding, members of 
Wisconsin's Badger Environmental Board of Advisors (BEBA) defended its 
legitimacy as one of the nation's oldest Restoration Advisory Boards and 
unanimously voted to preserve its community-led structure.

At the November 27 meeting held in rural Sauk City, Gale L. Smith, 
Public Affairs Specialist with Army Operations Headquarters, denounced 
the BEBA board saying Army officials at Rock Island will no longer 
support the current BEBA structure.  Smith claimed U.S. Army guidance 
documents recommend an Army co-chair -- the BEBA has a community chair. 
Smith also asserted that environmental regulators should have the same 
voting privileges as community members -- another reason, she said, the 
Army is disputing the legitimacy of the board.

Smith's condemnation was surprising given the Badger board has 
consistently received federal funding and administrative support since 
its inception in 1993 and has, until now, been recognized as the 
official Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) for the Badger Army Ammunition 
Plant.  Smith claimed that under Army guidance documents -- written 
after the BEBA was formed -- the BEBA may no longer qualify as a RAB and 
therefore will not be eligible for funding, including administrative 
support and federal TAPP (Technical Assistance for Public Participation) 

Over the last seven years, the original membership structure of the 
board has remained unchanged except for the recent addition of a seat 
for the Ho-Chunk Nation.  Ironically, the U.S. Army came under fire for 
hand-picking the original 1993 BEBA membership and for not soliciting 
members through an open public process as recommended by the Federal 
Facilities Environmental Restoration Dialogue Committee.

In order to reinstate its standing as a RAB, Smith said the Army will 
require the BEBA to comply with the military's current guidelines -- 
changes which will require extensive changes in the BEBA's by-laws. 
Smith warned that unless the BEBA amends the role of environmental 
regulators and Army officials, the Army intends to withdraw funding and 
organize a new and separate RAB.

If the board intends to appeal the Rock Island decision, the ultimate 
decision would be that of General John G. Coburn, Commanding General, 
U.S. Army Materiel Command, Smith concluded. Undaunted, community 
members immediately and unanimously passed a motion to maintain the 
structure and by-laws of the BEBA -- a paradoxical punctuation to a 
meeting that earlier lauded the BEBA's role in securing funding for 
priority cleanup projects at Badger including $5.6 million to remediate 
mercury-contaminated sediments in the nearby Wisconsin River.

In a parting gesture, board members urged Smith to invite Coburn to the 
next meeting so he could gain a "first-hand" understanding of the 
capabilities and efficacy of the BEBA.

*   *   *

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