Chemical Stockpile Preparedness Plan ending

The Chemical Stockpile Preparedness Plan, a federal program that allocated close to $200 million for counties near the Pine Bluff Arsenal chemical weapon storage facility, will draw to a close in June.

The Pine Bluff Arsenal, located near Pine Bluff, Arkansas, no longer houses dangerous weapons and chemicals and, as a result, the CSEPP and its funding are no longer needed, Today's THV reports.

"The CSEPP program has really been a good friend and a good neighbor to Arkansas," Tommy Jackson, a representative for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said, according to Today's THV. "The program which was mandated  by Congress 20 years ago. The chemical weapon stockpile has been disposed of. Things are winding down here."

Eight counties near the Pine Bluff Arsenal were allocated $200 million for training and equipment, but will no longer receive the special funding. Commercials are currently running on local television to ensure all residents know the program is coming to an end.

"Those counties are better equipped and better educated in dealing with these sorts of things so despite the fact the program is ending, it's benefits will be felt for a long time to come," Jackson said, Today's THV reports.

The evacuation routes planned through the local counties were never used in 20 years of the program's implementation. The funding for the counties will end on June 15 and the books must be closed on the program by September 30.