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Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Chemical and Biological Weapons

The Sierra Club opposes all further production and use of chemical warfare agents as defined by international treaty, including defoliants, and urges that all existing stockpiles of dangerous materials of this nature be detoxified and rendered harmless as soon as practicable.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, September 19-20, 1970

The Sierra Club:

  1. reaffirms its support for the International Citizens' Accords on Chemical Weapons Disposal,
  2. is encouraged by the recently released report of the National Research Council's Committee on Alternatives Chemical Demilitarization Technologies, outlining alternative technologies that show promise of safer means of destroying chemical weapons, and
  3. reaffirms its opposition to the Army's choice of incineration for chemical weapons demilitarization, and strongly supports an accelerated effort to apply safer and, if possible, more cost-effective technologies to demilitarization of the nation's chemical weapons stockpile.

The Sierra Club urges the Congress:

  1. to prohibit the expenditure of funds for purposes related to the proposed incinerator complexes at the chemical weapons stockpile sites, and to require the Army instead to develop safer alternative methods for use at all stockpile sites, much as the Congress did in 1992 for the three "low volume" sites in Indiana, Kentucky and Maryland;
  2. to prohibit the expenditure of funds for construction or procurement related to the proposed incinerator complexes at the chemical weapons stockpile sites until the Army completes Operational Verification Testing (OVT) of the prototype incinerator complex at Kalama (Johnston) Atoll, much as the Congress did in 1992 for the sites in Alabama, Arkansas and Oregon, and until there has been ample time for public and congressional review of the results of those tests;
  3. to require and provide funding for accelerated development of promising safer alternatives to incineration for chemical weapons demilitarization, destruction and disposal;
  4. to provide administrative and technical support funding for each of the Chemical Demilitarization Citizens' Advisory Commissions authorized by the Congress last year, and to authorize expenditure of those funds for appropriate administrative and technical support at the discretion of the Commission; and
  5. to avoid approving inflexible deadlines in statute or in international agreements that restrict the ability of the United States to assure the use of safe, effective and broadly acceptable alternative methods for chemical weapons demilitarization, destruction and disposal in this country and abroad.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, September 18, 1993


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