Bad dirt stays

The program was established to clean up sites used as part of the Manhattan Project and other federal nuclear research sites.

National Lead contracted with the Department of Energy to fabricate aircraft ballast and projectiles constructed of de-pleted uranium shipped in from Africa.

For the 2006 fiscal year, the dig at National Lead was budgeted for $10.5 million, $1.5 million less than last year. As the project nears completion Congress typically lowers the amount budgeted for the following year, said Moore. For 2007, the site is to see much less than $10 million, he said.

"The proposed budget for FUSRAP's fiscal year 2007 is $130 million," said Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Candice Walters. "The House (of Representatives) has acted on it, the Senate has not."

The proposed 2007 budget is $10 million less than the fiscal year 2006 request and $8.6 million less than the enacted level of $138.6 million for fiscal year 2006.

The program has the capability to obligate $200 million for FUSRAP activities.

Attempts to reach U.S. senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, both Democrats, were unsuccessful.

Moore would not comment on the rough amount the corps anticipates to receive for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

For now the money remains in this year's budget to get the soil out of the ground, he said. Once that is done, engineers will know exactly how much soil they will have to ship out at $250 per cubic yard.

There is one perk, said Moore. Storing the soil on the site will simplify the cleanup. Still, neighbors to the site that abuts the Albany city line have opposed any long-term storage of the contaminated soil on the site.

How long the soil could sit at the site, waiting for money to ship it out, Moore could not say at this juncture.

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