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The Army spent $4.7 million to build this neutralization facility, intended to destroy Utah’s…

Four months.
That’s how long it was supposed to take to rid Utah of its stockpile of the deadly blister agent lewisite.
The plan was to use neutralization, a chemical process that has been used in other states to eliminate swimming pool-sized stores of chemical weapons. Environmental activists broadly prefer it to incineration.
But a decade of missteps – including flawed tests that wrongly indicated neutralization didn’t work – delayed the process. And just a few years after building a multimillion-dollar facility at Tooele’s Deseret Chemical Depot to get the job done, the Army tore the building down.
Now the Army wants to try again – by building a new incinerator. And what was once a point of rare agreement between the military and its critics has turned contentious again.

‘A lot of naiveté’: The military had been destroying obsolete chemical weapons for decades before the U.S. added its signature to the international Chemical Weapons Convention on Jan. 13, 1993.
The treaty kicked things into high gear. With an international mandate to eliminate the stockpile – and armed with a 1984 National Research Council decision that incineration was safe – the Army planned to burn away its weapons by 2003, four years ahead of the convention’s 2007 deadline.