Kentucky weapon destruction on track

A measure that could have caused a two-year delay in the destruction of chemical weapons in Kentucky has been stripped at the last second, allowing work to proceed as planned.

The measure could have changed the contract of Bechtel-Parsons Bluegrass, the company in charge of building the neutralization site that will dispose of chemical weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, the Kentucky State-Journal reports.

Under the proposal, the five-year-old construction contract with Bechtel-Parsons would have been changed, forcing it to cover multiple contingencies at a single fixed price.

The current contract now allows expenses, within reason, to be reimbursed by the government when they exceed estimates. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the defense bill last week with an amendment by U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler that dropped that wording.

Craig Williams, of the Chemical Weapons Working Group, has been an advocate for neutralizing the weapons as opposed to burning them as in other states.

“For some reason, it seems to be the whipping boy of some people's agendas,” Williams told the Kentucky State-Journal. “Previously we've had all sorts of problems with funding requests coming to Congress from the Pentagon.”

Chandler agreed.

“These weapons are deadly and right in our backyard," Chandler said in a statement. “We've been dealing with delay after delay for decades, and it is time to stop the setbacks and broken promises. The people of Central Kentucky deserve better. They deserve to be safe, and they deserve some peace of mind.”