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Committee approves funding for two Wisconsin-built warships

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved funding for four Navy warships, two of which would be built in northeast Wisconsin.

The panel endorsed the defense portion of next year's federal budget. Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl says it includes two Navy littoral combat ships to be built at Marinette Marine and two at Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.

The total cost of the four ships is $1.8 billion. It's part of the Navy's commitment to build 20 of the advanced combat ships, 10 from each contractor.

Littoral combat ships are used to hunt submarines, and defend ground troops.

Wells contaminated by gas from broken pipeline

The number of contaminated home water wells has grown to 17 in the wake of a gasoline pipeline break near Jackson almost two and a half weeks ago.

The West Shore Pipeline Co. said yesterday that it sampled 131 private wells near the place where 52,000 gallons of gas leaked on July 17.

West Shore has tried to prevent the underground gas from spreading by putting in shallow monitoring wells around the site. Corporate Safety Director Patrick Hodgins says they're drilling at various depth levels, and when they find gasoline, they immediately pull it out with a vacuum truck.

Meanwhile, West Shore has set up a claims center in Jackson where those affected by the gas spill can get help. The pipeline was down for five days. After that, crews removed over seven tons of contaminated soil from two properties near the line.