Monday, January 28, 2019

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace, Love and Music -- 72 Years of Weapons Contracting

This ad for Ametek Rotron's parent division, Ametek Aerospace and Defense, appeared in Jane's Defence Weekly in 2007. As Woodstock gears up for the 50th anniversary of the festival that didn't happen here, perhaps this graphic can remind us how our town's largest employer has been making critical contributions to the hatching of tanks, warplanes, helicopters, multiple rocket launchers, etc., year in year out since 1947 ... polluting their neighbors' groundwater as they did so.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Local arms parts factory expanding

A letter to the Woodstock Times, 1/17/2019:
In the last Woodstock Times there was a casual mention in the report from the town council  that our local arms parts factory was expanding . I hope that this newspaper (the only source for local information in our community) can do due diligence and give us more substance on this development. Has Rotron received more Department of "Defense" orders? Where do their parts (and the weapons they complete) go? Are they making essential ingredients for new cluster bombs for Yemen or Israel or Saudi Arabia? 
Our local weapons contractor is similar to the thousands across this country (one in every Congressional district) that perpetuate our war economy. We tax-paying citizens deserve to know what our money is doing across the world and especially next door.
I recall the terrible environmental problems that Rotron created some years ago--with highly toxic chemicals leaching into the water table. Has that been totally remedied? Will this expansion exacerbate that sort of problem? 
DeeDee Halleck

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Woodstock's military contractor expands

In December 2018, Woodstock's Ametek Rotron was awarded $604,000 of New York State regional economic development funding for an expansion of its facilities off Route 375. Now they'll need some zoning changes to go through with the expansion project, which will bring them the latest digital technology in their quest for the ever-more-perfect weapons component.

The Rotron facility has the distinction of being Woodstock's only Superfund site, after Rotron poured TCE  in the groundwater for decades -- the byproduct of earlier generations of Rotron ballistic missile, tank, fighter jet, rocket launcher and warship components. This Woodstock Times front page from 1995 reminds us of that era. The TCE is still there.

The local economy needs all the jobs it can get, including the ten that this expansion will allegedly provide. State development grants are a great idea and to be encouraged. But even as we support militarism with over half our Federal taxes, we find that some of our State taxes are also feeding the military-industrial complex. We should demand our taxes fund human needs instead. Studies indicate that funding human needs creates more jobs (per dollar spent) than funding military technology.

State policy could be nudging companies like Rotron to devote their know-how to peaceful ends and a green economy, rather than driving them even further into the arms [pun intended] of the military.