July 2, 2008

Report: Consider Moving Chemical Weapons to Accelerate Destruction

By Ashlee Clark, The Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.

Jul. 2--Destruction of chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot won't be complete by a government-imposed 2017 deadline unless officials consider other options, including moving chemical weapons to destruction facilities in other states, according to the Department of Defense.

The department released its findings in a semi-annual report to Congress of the country's chemical demilitarization program.

The Department of Defense outlines three options for accelerating destruction of chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot and the Pueblo Chemical Depot, a similar facility in Colorado:

-- Performance incentives.

-- Transportation of portions of the stockpiles to chemical weapons destruction facilities in Utah, Oregon, Alabama and Arkansas.

-- Acceleration of the destruction schedule at Pueblo and Blue Grass.

Transporting the chemical weapons stockpile would be the most intensive process to complete. Congress would have to change laws to allow transportation of chemical munitions across state lines and address federal and state environmental requirements. Hazardous waste permits at the other destruction facilities would also have to be modified to receive munitions from other sites.

The Department of Defense doesn't have much confidence in meeting the 2017 deadline under this option because of the changes required.

Preliminary findings show that destruction of the chemical weapons at the Colorado and Kentucky facilities by 2017 would not be possible under the other two options, the report states.

For more on this story, check back at Kentucky.com


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