2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 28 May 2003 13:29:06 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military

P.O. Box 467, Berea, Kentucky   40403
Phone:  (859) 986-7565      Fax: (859) 986-2695
e-mail: craig@cwwg.org // web: www.cwwg.org

for more information contact:
Craig Williams: 859-986-7565
for immediate release:  Tuesday - May 27, 2003


For more than nine years the National Research Council (NRC) has been
recommending that the Army upgrade the warfare agent
monitoring systems at its chemical weapons storage and disposal sites.
For nine years the Army ignored these recommendations - until now.

Last week, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) introduced an amendment to the
2004 Defense Authorization Bill, and on Friday it was passed as part of
the Bill, stating that the Army’s “inefficient and outdated” alarm
systems should be upgraded with “newer and advanced technologies.”
According to NRC reports, the advanced systems could reduce response
time from more than twenty minutes to less than 10 seconds.
Additionally, these technologies can provide reliable confirmation of
any agent releases.  Over the last 15 years the Army’s incinerators have
had thousands of agent alarms, some real - some false, without a way to
reliably telling the difference.  According to the Army, the true cause
of many of these alarms remains “unidentified” to this day.

"The people of Kentucky will be better protected during storage and
disposal of the chemical weapons  due to the efforts of
Senator Bunning,” said Craig Williams, Director of the Chemical Weapons
Working Group (CWWG), a watchdog organization
based in Berea, Kentucky.  “He has again demonstrated that the safety
and protection of the communities, the workers and the
general environment remain his top priority for weapons disposal.  We
are particularly pleased that the amendment includes every
storage and disposal site. With the provision introduced by Mr. Bunning
and the support of Senator McConnell (R-KY), all
stockpile communities can rest easier knowing the best available
monitoring technologies will be deployed as the weapons
disposal program moves forward.  His efforts are to be applauded."
According to Bunning’s staff, Senators from all eight
storage states have endorsed the proposed improvements.

During the drafting of the amendment, the monitoring changes were also
discussed with Army officials who responded positively to the proposal.
The new Director of the Chemical Material Agency (CMA), Mike Parker,
commented, “The Assistant Secretary of the
Army, Mr. Claude Bolton, who has authority over the storage and disposal
of such weapons, when briefed on the amendment, was
fully supportive of identifying and deploying improved monitoring
systems at all sites. In fact he has directed CMA to initiate a study
immediately to determine which technologies will best achieve the
objective and to continue improving the monitoring capability over
the life of the program.”

An attempt to have a similar amendment passed by Congress two years ago
was vigorously opposed by the previous Army leadership. “This new
attitude reflects a significant improvement in the management of the
program under Mr. Parker and Secretary
Bolton.  It is a welcome change to see the activist community, the
Congress and the Army all working together toward a common
and important goal,” said Williams.

Senator Bunning said, "This provision not only gets the ball rolling on
having the Army set forth a plan for enhanced chemical agent
monitoring in and around the Bluegrass Army Depot, but it covers all the
other sites across the United States, as well.  I want to
not just thank my Senate colleagues for accepting this provision, but I
want to also thank  the Chemical Weapons Working Group
Director, Craig Williams for his help and guidance.  I look forward to
following up on this issue to ensure the Army gets this initiative
developed and deployed in a timely manner.  This is common sense stuff,
and I am eager to get right at it, with the CWWG’s help,
to better protect the public, those personnel in the chemical
demilitarization program, and our environment."


Copies of the Amendment and the NRC recommendations are available upon

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