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CWWG Confirms Second Nerve Gas Release from Utah Incinerator; Questions Army's Statements Surrounding May 8th & 9th Incidents


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Chemical Weapons Working Group
P.O. Box 467
Berea, KY 40403
(859) 986-7565 (2695 -fax)
kefwilli@acs.eku.edu www.cwwg.org

for more information contact:
Jason Groenewald: (801) 364-5110
Craig Williams: (859) 986-7565
Bob Schaeffer : (941) 395-6773

for immediate release: Wednesday May 17, 2000

CITIZEN WATCHDOG GROUPS CONFIRM SECOND NERVE GAS RELEASE
FROM ARMY CHEM-WEAPONS INCINERATOR IN UTAH; QUESTION
ARMY'S STATEMENTS SURROUNDING MAY 8TH & 9TH INCIDENTS

THE NUMBER AND SEVERITY OF THE RELEASES
BEING WITHHELD FROM CITIZENS

Citizen groups monitoring the Army's chemical weapons incinerator in Tooele,
Utah, have confirmed a second release of live nerve gas GB (Sarin) from the
incinerator stack early on May 9th in addition to the release admitted to by the
Army that took place late on the 8th.

In addition, according to memos between Utah state officials, received through
unofficial channels by the groups, the Army misrepresented the levels of agent
that were released during the one incident they have admitted to.

State Department of Environmental Quality officials have confirmed a second
Sarin release took place sometime between 12:29 a.m. and 1:15 a.m. the
morning of the 9th. But at a press conference held last week the Army and its
contractor, EG&G Defense Materials, Inc., only revealed the one release at
11:26 p.m. on the night of the 8th. No mention of the second release of nerve
gas was made at the press conference or in any of the press statements issued
by the Army to date.

"Given the tragic history of government cover-ups in Utah from the days of
atomic testing fallout and the nerve agent sheep kill of 1968, you would think
the Army would have learned to tell the public the truth," said Jason
Groenewold, Director of Families Against Incinerator Risk (FAIR). "Now with
news of the second leak, we must ask ourselves, 'Are we willing to risk having
another generation of downwinders or have we learned to be wise and prudent
and insist on safer alternatives?'"

The Army has repeatedly claimed that the 11:26 release reached levels 3.6 times
the permitted stack concentration. But, according to memos received by FAIR
the alarms were reading 8.7 times permitted levels, more than double the
Army's stated amount.

"The Army's unwillingness to be honest reflects a callous disregard for the
public's right to be informed about the operations at the facility." said Craig
Williams, Director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG) a
national watchdog organization. "This is just the latest situation where the
Army has blatantly contradicted their commitment to public safety and
protection. Anyone that continues to believe what the incinerator
representatives have to say regarding the Chemical Disposal Program is living
in denial."

The groups watching developments surrounding this situation are calling on
Congress to launch an independent investigation into what actually happened
during these incidents. Currently the investigation is being headed up by the
Army which Groenewold says is "unacceptable based on the miserable track
record the Army has around telling the truth about potential impacts to the
public"

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Chemical Weapons Working Group
Kentucky Environmental Foundation
P.O. Box 467
Berea, KY 40403
phone: 859-986-7565
fax: 859-986-2695


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