Chemical Weapons Incineration in Anniston, Ala., Delayed

Just as local residents were scrambling for gas masks, the U.S. Army announced yesterday that it would delay startup of a controversial chemical-weapons incinerator in Anniston, Ala., until Friday, when a federal judge can consider an environmental group’s request for a temporary restraining order against the facility. The Chemical Weapons Working Group argues that the Army violated federal law by neglecting to consider alternative disposal methods, including neutralizing the weapons with warm water or other nontoxic liquids. The Army’s Anniston incinerator is situated near residential areas, schools, and businesses with a high percentage of poor and minority citizens, many of whom are very worried about the possible health effects from incineration or an accident at the facility. The Army insists that incineration is safe and that leaving the Cold War-era weapons intact would pose an even greater danger because they could leak or be a target for terrorists.