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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 426-96
July 12, 1996

NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILE DESTRUCTION ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

The office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army hosted an environmental issues conference today in Denver, Colo., with senior officials from federal, regional, and state environmental agencies, along with local citizens groups. The challenges of destroying chemical weapons in an environmentally safe manner while providing for safety to the public was the focus of the meeting.

This forum provided an opportunity for all interested share holders to address site-specific issues associated with the Chemical Weapons Demilitarization Program. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security, Sherri W. Goodman, stated, Trust and openness are the key to making this very complex program a success for all parties, and that's why we set up this forum.

Commenting on the need to share information and jointly resolve the complex issues facing this program, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition, Gilbert F. Decker stated, The name of the game is teamwork. This meeting was the first step in a process to improve understanding and seek cooperation among all of the participants.

The meeting adjourned with a confirmed commitment by all parties to continue discussions in the future about specific areas of interest associated with the program. The exchange of ideas and information by all attendees set the stage for building a consensus for future problem resolution. Dr. Theodore M. Prociv, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Chemical and Biological Matters, emphasized, I was truly impressed with the interest and desire of the participants to sit together and jointly address this very complex challenge.