2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 20 Nov 2002 21:47:26 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Suit may delay arms incineration in Alabama

Folks should remember in addition to the incidents at Tooele the
releases at Johnston Atoll. In fact, even after the incineration had
been completed at JACADs and the incinerator itself dismantled, there
were two releases of VX nerve gas -- and press releases by the Army
acknowledging same.

These are the sorts of things the plaintiffs in the law suit are no
doubt going to tell the court citizens can expect from the Army's
assurances that it can burn CWM safely in populated areas.

At JACADs From December 3 to December 5, 2000, an unknown quantity of
untreated VX nerve agent was released to the environment; the VX was
monitored during this period in an area not designed for agent; and when
the first sample initially confirmed that VX at an unknown concentration
was present where it was not expected, the facility's response was not
protective of facility personnel or the environment. As a result, up to
seven additional individuals were potentially exposed to VX and the
storage bin in question was not secured until many hours later.

The Army failed immediately to activate the J facility alarms to notify
all facility personnel and failed to implement the RCRA Contingency Plan
upon the December 5, 2000, release of VX nerve agent. The facility was
aware of an emergency situation at 1:56 am on that date but delayed
implementing the Contingency Plan until 10:20 am.

The contractor onsite failed to notify EPA of the VX release within 24
hours from the time the Permittee became aware of the noncompliance.

In its press release, the Army stated that investigations concluded the
contamination occurred as a result of the introduction of a new material
used during the VX agent campaign to absorb residual agent spills.
Personnel who handled the container were examined, and no signs of agent
exposure were evident, according to the Army.

"The December agent release posed a negligible risk to the workers and
the environment," stated JACADS Site Project Manager Gary McCloskey. "As
the safety of civilians and the surrounding Johnston Atoll ecosystem is
paramount, the Army has already taken steps to prevent a similar
chemical release from occurring."

Another release of VX agent took place in August of 2002.

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