Colorado Senators Try to Block Study to Move Chemical Weapons

Colorado Senators Try to Block Study to Move Chemical Weapons

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DENVER (AP) -- A bill co-sponsored by Colorado's two U.S. senators seeks to block funding of a study to assess shipping chemical munitions from depots in Colorado, Kentucky and Indiana to out-of-state sites where destruction systems are already in place -- such as one in Utah.

Sens. Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar said earlier this month they had received assurances from the Pentagon that the mustard gas at Pueblo Chemical Depot would not be shipped out-of-state. The Defense Department announced the $150,000 feasibility study the day after their meeting with the senators Jan. 18.

"It is extremely disturbing to me that the Pentagon would study the possibility of relocating the Pueblo's chemical weapon stockpile after the Pentagon assured (us) last week that such an option was unrealistic, not to mention illegal," Allard said.

"While we wait for the promised clarification on these matters, Senator Allard and I believe it is necessary to emphasize our resolve," Salazar said in a statement. "This legislation helps provide that emphasis."

The Army depot at Pueblo is one of two chemical-weapons sites that don't have destruction systems in place yet. The additional costs of the war in Iraq has delayed funding of multimillion dollar destruction systems at Pueblo and the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Ky.

In addition to Utah, sites with disposal facilities constructed or in operation are in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland and Oregon.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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