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Army Delays Burning Weapons, Citing Environmental Concerns

September 21, 2002|From Associated Press

ANNISTON, Ala. — The Army has postponed plans to begin burning Cold War-era chemical weapons at its new incinerator next month, citing new objections from state environmental officials.

The Army's spokesman for the project, Mike Abrams, said burning would likely begin after Jan. 1.

The Army had planned to begin destroying 2,254 tons of deadly Cold War-era weapons at the Anniston Army Depot in late October.

But the state Department of Environmental Management asked for a delay Sept. 12, complaining that Army laboratory burn tests were not done according to procedures approved by the agency.

Abrams said the tests will be redone to meet state guidelines.

The announcement Friday came hours after the Birmingham News reported that Army officials exchanged e-mails outlining a plan to deflect criticism of the incinerator by embarrassing local officials over their stand on emergency response training.

But Abrams said the newspaper's report did not influence the timing of the announcement.

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