Oct 25, 2006

Nerve Agent Dumping Plans Reevaluated

The army’s previous plan to dump the neutralized byproduct of a deadly nerve agent into the Delaware River is being reconsidered.

The plan was for four million gallons of the VX byproduct to be treated at DuPont Chambers Works Plant in Deepwater, N.J. Before moving forward, the plan is being carefully considered by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, D-Haddon Heights, told The Express Times that he fears there are too many risks involved with the plan. Andrews, along with Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-Vetnor, and Jim Sexton, R-Mount Holly, sponsored the amendment included in a defense bill signed by President Bush.

The army had hoped to neutralize the VX nerve agent byproduct at the Newport Chemical Depot in Indiana, and then send it to Deepwater for a second round before releasing it into the Delaware River.

According to The Express Times, the U.S. Government called for accelerated demolition of all chemical weapon stockpiles in the country after Sept. 11th, 2001, in order to eliminate the risk of potential terrorist attacks.

Lawmakers would prefer that the Army keep the byproduct on-site in Indiana, where the process is the safest way to dispose of the material.

A DuPont spokeswoman stated that the company is confident that it can handle the disposal of the byproduct at the Chambers Works Plant.