Dear Editor:

I have been following your recent coverage of the city’s plan to move Wausau Chemical away from the river, and I’d like to offer my two cents, for what it’s worth.

When Wausau Chemical was built, we didn’t know what we know now about the environmental dangers posed to the community. We found out too late in the late 70s and early 80s, when our groundwater was threatened. In hindsight, the company should have been relocated back then, but it wasn’t.

Now, the city wants to move Wausau Chemical and the truth is, they should. But the city needs to stop kidding themselves about how much the cleanup is going to cost us – the taxpayers. The way I understand it, the cost to clean up that property in order for housing developments to be  built there will be significant. But what I haven’t heard is the answer to the question, who will foot the bill?

If the plan is for Wausau Chemical to pay for cleanup, city officials should say so – quickly – or stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

In January, the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement to complete one of the nation’s largest Superfund cleanup projects in the lower Fox River and Green Bay area. Though an enormous amount of cleanup has already been done at the site, the final phase of the cleanup, taken on by NCR Corporation, will cost up to $200 million more. That will bring the total cleanup costs for the Fox River well past $1 billion.

The question city officials should be asking is, “How does this compare to Wausau?”

Maybe they don’t know, since they didn’t bother to contact the EPA before announcing this whole deal.

No one denies that Wausau Chemical should be moved. It would be good for the company and good for the riverfront development. But it’s time to come clean about costs.


Gerald J. Schuster, Wausau