CHEMICAL WEAPONS WORKING GROUP
128 Main St. Berea KY 40403
859-986-9868 859-986-2695 (F)
for more information contact:
Craig Williams 859-986-7565
for immediate release, Tuesday, July 18, 2006
SEN. McCONNELL GETS SENATE PANELS TO OK $360 MILLION FOR KY & CO CHEM DEMIL
Provisions Also Ensure Funds Won't Be Spent on Other Demil Sites
Two Senate Appropriations Sub-Committees have approved requests by KY Senator Mitch McConnell to fund chemical weapons disposal activities in Kentucky and Colorado, to the tune of $360 million in Fiscal Year 2007. This represents an increase of $327 million over the amount the Pentagon estimated they would request for 2007 just last year.
Pentagon plans to reduce funding for CO and KY to a mere $33 million each year for five years, beginning in 2007, were revealed by the Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG) back in 2005. Acting on this information, and determining what level of funding would be required to adequately execute the program, McConnell wrote the Pentagon urging they increase their funding request for 2007 to between $300 and $400 million. The Pentagon responded by requesting $350 million.
However, the House Military Construction Appropriations Sub-Committee proposed a $40 million cut out of the military construction portion that request.
In May 2006 CWWG first revealed the House Sub-Committee's $40 million budget cut. Then in June, the CWWG released an internal Pentagon document showing this cut would wind up costing taxpayers an additional $220 million over the long term and, more importantly, add at least an additional year to the disposal schedule in Colorado and Kentucky.
McConnell got the Senate Military Construction Sub-Committee to not only restore the $40 million, but add an additional $10 million to the construction budget for next year.
The total of $360 million in Construction and Research & Development funding will allow the Army and its contractors to continue ongoing construction activities and continue work on facility design, equipment testing and other activities associated with the chemical weapons disposal project.
McConnell also got provisions accepted requiring the 2007 funding for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program (ACWA), the agency within the Defense Department responsible for chemical demilitarization at Kentucky and Colorado, not be spent at any other weapons stockpile sites. This restriction was necessary because in previous years, funds appropriated for ACWA sites have been used to cover skyrocketing costs at other locations.
In a statement released from his office, McConnell said, "This additional funding will help hasten the day when Kentucky citizens no longer have to live with deadly chemical weapons being stored in their midst. I remain committed to ensuring that these heinous weapons are disposed of as safely and quickly as possible."
CWWG Director Craig Williams,
"We should all be thankful for the Senator's dedication on the chemical
weapons disposal issue. We have
consistently relied on him to represent the concerns of communities
these weapons and he has always delivered solid results."