2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 10 Oct 2002 15:49:22 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Army seeks to expand chemical, biological drills

Army seeks to expand chemical, biological drills
But critics fear possible effects around Utah site

By Judith Graham
Tribune national correspondent
Published October 10, 2002

DENVER -- For 60 years, the U.S. military has tested its ability to
withstand chemical or biological attacks at a desolate site in the Utah
desert. Protective gear for troops, heavy equipment such as tanks and
aircraft, and detection systems designed to signal an attack have all
been run through intense simulations, sometimes using active chemical
and biological agents.

Now, with a possible war with Iraq looming on the horizon, the military
plans to more than double its testing at the 798,000-acre Dugway Proving
Ground, 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, and to vastly expand its
counterterrorism training activities at the site.

The plans are disclosed in a draft environmental impact statement issued
by Dugway, which has received little attention in Utah or nationally.
The statement indicates that the Army facility wants to expand
biological defense testing from an average of 11 events a year to 26,
and boost chemical defense testing from 30 events a year to 70.
Counterterrorism training would go from two events to 58 events a year.

Almost no test details are provided, making the few advocates following
Dugway's plans uneasy about risks to public health and the environment
if biological or chemical materials were accidentally released. The
environmental statement notes systems are in place to make sure that
does not happen.

"In principle, there's an appropriate role for this kind of testing. But
essentially what they're saying is we want blanket permission to double
our mission without telling anyone what we really plan to do," said
Steve Erickson, director of the Citizens Education Project, a non-profit
organization based in Salt Lake City. "With their track record, that's

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