"The Army on Wednesday won a court challenge to its plan to incinerate chemical weapons at storage sites around the country over objections from a watchdog group that says the practice releases toxic pollution.
A federal judge threw out the suit aimed at stopping the plan to destroy the stockpiles dating back as far as World War II, required under an international treaty, the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. More than half the United States' aging cache of 31,500 tons of nerve agents and mustard gas has been destroyed so far, with a 2017 congressional deadline for completion.
The Army conducted several environmental impact studies comparing different methods of destruction and concluded that incineration was the most safe and effective when explosive munitions are involved.
A watchdog organization called the Chemical Weapons Working Group, based in Berea, Ky., sued in 2003, arguing there are new alternative technologies for destruction. They say the Army's environmental impact studies are outdated and failed to assess the impact of weapons, such as mustard agents, containing mercury."
Nedra Pickler reports for the Associated Press August 19, 2009.