Weapons of Mass Distruction
A coalition of activists in four states sued the federal government yesterday over the U.S. Army’s practice of incinerating chemical weapons. The coalition, led by the Kentucky-based Chemical Weapons Working Group, charges the Army with violating the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider less dangerous alternatives for disposing of the country’s chemical weapons stockpile, including sarin, VX gas, and mustard gas. The suit asks for an injunction to halt incineration at a chemical depot in Utah and to prevent the startup of recently constructed incinerators in Oregon, Alabama, and Arkansas. Over the past decade, four of the nation’s eight stockpile sites have switched from incineration to neutralization processes to handle chemical agents, which the plaintiffs say is a safer method. The Army, however, says incineration remains the most proven technology.