(Excerpted from the May 2000 issue of CWWG's newsletter "Common Sense")
The Non-Stockpile Chemical Weapons Citizens
Coalition (Non-Stockpile Coalition) is a national grassroots network
of citizens and organizations concerned with the recovery, storage
and disposal of "non-stockpile chemical materiel" in
the U.S. and elsewhere. Non-stockpile chemical materiel includes
old and abandoned chemical weapons, chemical agent test kits,
chemical weapons production buildings and other miscellaneous
items which are not part of the chemical weapons stockpile. These
items are known or suspected to exist in more than 35 U.S. states.
The Non-Stockpile Coalition seeks to promote environmental justice at all stages of the handling of non-stockpile materiel, and the involvement of citizens affected by these weapons and other items. We were officially organized in 1998, and currently have over 40 member and affiliate groups. Following are a few updates of our activities. For more information please contact Elizabeth Crowe at (606) 986-0868, or by email at email@example.com.
Currently, NSCMP plans to burn secondary wastes from these technologies in commercial hazardous waste incinerators, possibly in Utah and Texas. The Non-Stockpile Coalition, including our member and affiliate groups in Utah and Texas, are opposed to this unecessary burning when advanced, non-incineration technologies may soon be available.
"Citizens Alternative" for non-stockpile materiel disposal
In October 1999, NSCMP released its draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for disposal of non-stockpile chemical materiel. The purpose of an EIS is to assess the environmental and health effects of various clean-up options. In the non-stockpile draft EIS, the only options considered were 1) move forward with testing and deployment of the Rapid Response System, Munitions Management Device - 1 and Explosive Destruction System (as listed above) and incinerate the secondary waste from these systems; and 2) take no action at this time.
Agencies preparing an EIS are required to seek comments on their draft document. The Non-Stockpile Coalition comments included an alternative proposal, as follows. For a full copy of the coalition's comments to the draft EIS, call (606) 986-0868 or visit the web site at www.cwwg.org
1. Move forward with testing of the transportable disposal systems (the Rapid Response System (RRS), Emergency Destruction System (EDS), and Munitions Management Device - 1 (MMD-1)) provided that residual wastes from these systems are treated with a non-incineration, publicly acceptable technology. If such a technology is not currently available, store residual wastes until such a technology is available.
2. At the same time you test the transportable systems, continue to identify and assess the capability of other non-incineration technologies to treat non-stockpile materiel. Compare the transportable systems to these other technologies. Consider using systems which generate a lesser amount of waste.
3. Complete design work of "second generation" MMD and EDS systems, then compare these systems to other non-incineration technologies.
4. Ensure that communities affected by non-stockpile chemical materiel -- including those slated to process residual wastes -- are informed and involved in making decisions regarding weapons disposal.
5. To the extent you reject this alternative approach, we support the alternative set out in Section 18.104.22.168. of the PEIS ("Use of transportable treatment systems with the condition of storing neutralent and other wastes that require thermal treatment.").
National "Core Group" activities
As you may recall, beginning in July
1997 citizens have been engaged in dialogue with officials with
the Army's Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Program (NSCMP). We
have used these meetings to discuss the Army's plans for non-stockpile
weapons disposal, and to help identify ways in which citizens
and the Army can work cooperatively toward our common goals.
This past summer, the Keystone Center, a non-profit mediation group, was contracted by NSCMP to facilitate these dialogues. The re-formed dialogue group, officially called the "Core Group," now consists of representatives from the NSCMP, citizen-based community groups, Army Corps of Engineers, regional and federal Environmental Protection Agency offices, state environmental regulatory agencies and base installation commanders. Citizen representatives to the Core Group are Janet Daniels (Alaska), Doris Bradshaw (Tennessee), Jane Williams (California) and professional engineer Patrick Lynch (California), and Elizabeth Crowe.
Core Group meetings in December 1999 and March 2000 focused primarily on finalizing group protocols and establishing better communication between citizens and NSCMP including its Project Manager LTC Chris Ross (who came on board in Summer 1999) and new deputy manager Bill Brankowitz. Frustrations of citizen Core Group members regarding the slowed -- or seemingly halted -- flow of information on important technology and permitting issues resulted in a new "Information Exchange" process, which will be on trial run between now and our next meeting in Fall 2000.
For more information on the Core Group contact Elizabeth Crowe by phone or email (listed above), Janesse Brewer with the Keystone Center at (970) 513-5847, or Louise Dyson with NSCMP at (410) 436-3445.