Correspondent Kingston Freeman
WOODSTOCK — The Town Board is considering acting locally while thinking globally. Specifically, members are discussing whether to try to prohibit the local manufacture of parts used for military equipment.
The concern arises from the fact that Ametek Rotron Inc. has a manufacturing operation on Hasbrouck Lane in Woodstock, and a letter submitted to the Town Board by 14 local residents notes the company makes parts for helicopters, rocket launchers, tanks and armored personnel carriers.
Rotron’s Web site confirms the company manufactures those parts, but it does not say which, if any, are made at its Woodstock plant. Company officials could not be reached for comment.
Councilwoman Liz Simonson, agreeing with the residents’ letter, suggested town officials ask the company for a list of items it manufactures in Woodstock.
“For a town that prides itself on trying to create a zoning law that protects the environment, I can sort of see that the environment has a global scale,” Simonson said. “We’re protecting our own little hub of livelihood here, but it doesn’t speak well of us to say we’ll protect our own resources from degradation but we’ll manufacturer things that we can ship to other parts of the world (that will) destroy other parts of the world.
“I like the idea of trying to start a dialogue,” Simonson added. “I don’t want to be the person who says, ‘No, we don’t want you here because you’re making this,’ but to make them understand that perhaps people of Woodstock don’t want to be shipping these things to the rest of the world so we can destroy their environment while we sit in a nice little tidy place and protect our own.”
The letter signed by the 14 town residents said: “We’d like to know exactly what weapons systems have components that are made in Woodstock. We believe that the people of Woodstock can and should work together with local business people and the town government to create a local economy that is sustainable and ethical.”
The letter said studies conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts show “conversion from military to peaceful production can be done without jeopardizing jobs.”