McMillen seeks delayed action on chemical agents


Rep. Tom McMillen proposed yesterday that a congressionally mandated deadline for the destruction of the nation's aging mustard agent -- including that stored at Aberdeen Proving Ground -- be extended from 2000 to at least 2010 by linking it to a pending disposal agreement by the International Convention on Chemical Weapons.

His bill would require study of alternative disposal technologies.

A controversial incinerator at Aberdeen, where 5 percent of the overall stockpile is stored, is scheduled for construction in 1995. Only mustard agent, a liquid blistering substance, would be burned there.

Faster-killing nerve agents, mostly in munitions, would be destroyed at seven other sites in the nation as part of the Army's $7.9 billion chemical demilitarization program.

Residents near Aberdeen and across the Chesapeake Bay in Kent County have voiced concerns about emissions from Aberdeen's planned incinerator.

Mr. McMillen, a Democrat who lost his 4th District seat to redistricting and is running for Congress from the 1st District, introduced his bill just a day after Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski introduced similar legislation.

Mr. McMillen's bill would require that alternative technology be studied by an independent advisory commission, in addition to the National Academy of Sciences, which is already reviewing alternatives to incineration.

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