The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

August 3, 2009

180 lose jobs at Newport

STAFF REPORT

NEWPORT, Ind. — About 180 workers will lose their jobs at the end of September at the Newport Chemical Depot, according to a press release.

The workers are employed by Parsons Corp., the Army contractor that built, operated and now is dismantling the facility where more than 1,200 tons of chemical agent VX was destroyed. Workers completed destruction of the VX nerve agent stockpile in August 2008.

“Our contractor is providing 60 days advance notice of a mass layoff to allow employees time to look at their option,” said Anthony W. Reed, site project manager, in the press release. “While Newport employees are making great progress in our closure operations, these achievements come at the cost of jobs. Several of the workers being laid off will move to positions at other chemical agent disposal facilities.”

Lt. Col. William Hibner, depot commander, praised the work at Newport.

“Newport workers are experts in their fields with countless hours of valuable training and hands-on experience,” he said. “A variety of industries, as well as current chemic al stockpile sites, would benefit from their skills and knowledge.”

The Army’s plan to close the Newport Chemical Depot under the Base Realignment and Closure law also has resulted in the elimination of nearly 150 positions with Mason & Hanger, which has operated the installation since 1986. About 385 remaining contract and government positions at the installation gradually will be phased out until the Newport Chemical Depot Reuse Authority, the local entity appointed to develop land reuse plan for the depot property, assumes management control.

The transfer is expected prior to the September 2011 deadline established by BRAC law.