America's Chemical Weapons Problem
Geez, one little accident involving the nerve gas sarin and nobody wants to live downwind from the Army base anymore. A lawsuit filed last week in Federal District Court in Washington DC aims to stop the US Army's program of incinerating its stockpile of chemical weapons, which method the litigants claim is dangerous to workers and surrounding communities. The judge on the case is Thomas Penfield Jackson of Microsoft fame.
This is not a simple problem. The US has destroyed about 25% of its 31,500 tons of chemical weapons, as mandated by the Chemical Weapons Convention, but we will not make the April 2007 deadline for getting rid of them all. According to Chemical and Engineering News, Russia is using neutralization instead of incineration to dispose of its chemical weapons--but so far it has gotten rid of less than 1% of its 40,000 metric ton arsenal.