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Congressman Rogers talks about depot work, fresh rural water

Back to school

At Fruithurst Elementary School Wednesday, 3rd District Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Saks, speaks with Principal Christy Hiett. 

FRUITHURST — Alabama 3rd District Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said Wednesday he thinks that all of the repair work for a new Army armored vehicle should be done at the Anniston Army Depot.

Rogers was visiting a local school when he offered his insights about the depot’s chances of landing the repair contract for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle.

Rogers said he met with Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, last week in his D.C. office last week to pitch Anniston’s depot as the sole repair facility instead of the Red River Depot in Texarkana, Texas.

“I think all the work should go to to Anniston. We’ve been hearing rumors that they may try to split it and send half to Red River and half to Anniston. We believe they are just trying to keep Red River afloat because they’ve been losing jobs out there,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he made a good argument to Milley to have Anniston as the repair facility for the AMPV, which is replacing the Vietnam-era M113 family of vehicles.

“Sen. Shelby talked with him after that, and he has since met with the secretary of the Army and made the exact same argument,” Rogers said.

Rogers said it will probably be early December before the announcement is made.

Rogers also chimed in on the current tariff conflicts and was optimistic about a resolution in the very near future.

“I think that this all coming to closure. I think that China is going to take a little bit longer but the other tariffs — Mexico and Canada — Mexico has already resolved, Canada is close to being resolved.

“This ratcheting up of the tariff war between China and the United States, I think, shows we are getting close to a crescendo and there’s going to be some sort of a deal,” Rogers said.

Rogers pointed out that both the U.S. and China’s stock markets went up yesterday after the tariff announcement by both countries, and said that shows both of those markets have confidence in the situation.

Rogers was at Fruithurst Elementary to tour the school and to listen to a presentation by Principal Christy Hiett about getting county residents in Muscadine and Fruithurst hooked up to municipal water instead of using well water.

After the presentation Rogers pledged his support to the residents.

“They just made a complete presentation about the history of how they believe this well water contamination occurred and how many houses are exposed to it and asking for help,” Rogers said.

Less than a mile from the school, a now-shuttered rubber plant, Problend, has been singled out by Hiett as one possible source of contamination.

“They believe,” Rogers said, “that chemicals that came out at Problend and went into the the well water, contaminated the aquifer in the ground and has caused ten cases of cancer in five years when only one case of cancer should have occurred in five years in the entire county.”

Wells in the area have also tested positive for high levels of radon among other contaminants. Radon is an invisible and radioactive gas linked to several types of cancer. According to the EPA radon primarily causes lung cancer but when consumed with water can cause internal organ cancer, primarily stomach cancer.

Hiett was optimistic that Rogers was receptive to help the residents.

“I hope that we can receive some funds to connect more people with municipal water,” Hiett said.


​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.