Edgewood seeking to expand its chemical weapons processing

The Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, has requested a federal permit for a munitions processing and assessment facility to handle multiple deadly chemical agents, including sarin.
At a public presentation last week, Andrew Murphy, a spokesman for APG's environmental division, said that the permit request would add the facility, known as MAPS, to a list of several other hazardous waste processing facilities at the Harford County, Md., Army installation licensed under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certification, according to the the Baltimore Sun.
The MAPS, located in a 11,755-square foot facility built in 2003, processes mustard, phosgene and sarin, which was used in the deadly 1995 terrorist attack in the Tokyo subway system. The permit would allow the plant, which has been in testing mode, to be made fully operational.
APG submitted requests in 2006 and 2007 to add five facilities besides the MAPS to the federal permit. Due to inadequate staffing and workload, however, the original permit expired in 2009. The EPA issued APG its first permit in 1999 for the chemical agent neutralization facility, which processed a mustard agent stockpile, the Baltimore Sun reports. Much of the stockpile dated to the end of World War I and was stored on the Edgewood area of APG.
The Army originally wanted to incinerate the mustard agent stored at Edgewood and at other Army sites around the world, but there was public outcry about the process and the prospect for shipments being sent to Edgewood via rail and truck. The Army came up with the alternative of chemically neutralizing the mustard at the sites where it was stockpiled.
The Army has acknowledged that even banned substances like sarin may still be kept in small amounts for identification and testing purposes.