U.S. Offers to Help Dispose at Sea of Syria’s Chemical Weapons
Slated for destruction since at least 1985, the nation’s largest
remaining stockpile of chemical munitions – maintained in Colorado in
earth-cover “igloos” at the Pueblo Chemical Deport – are old, leaky and
expensive to protect.
The process of dismantling them is 29 years behind schedule and $33.8 billion over budget, according to an I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS inquiry into Defense Department documents and historical accounts.
But the depot here in Pueblo shows how difficult the job can be, even
absent the chaos of war. Stymied by technical barriers, concerned
neighbors and increasingly complex environmental regulations, the U.S.
effort to get rid of its own weapons of mass destruction has
consistently fallen short of projections.
Ronald Reagan was president when Congress first directed the Army to
eliminate its stockpile of 31,500 tons of mustard agent, sarin and VX
developed by the U.S. military for use in war. At that time, the Army
thought the job would be done by 1994 and cost $1.7 billion, according
to the Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based research
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