Umatilla Chemical Depot finishes stockpile incinerations

Inspectors have confirmed that 50 years after the Army's Umatilla Chemical Depot in Eastern Oregon began stockpiling chemical weapons, the last of the stockpile has been incinerated.
The chemical weapon stockpile represented approximately 12 percent of the nation's entire stockpile, originally consisting of 3,717 tons of VX, sarin and mustard gas. The Army, which began burning the weapons in 2004, has told approximately 600 workers at the depot that their jobs will go away in the coming years, the Seattle Times reports.
"No denying it: There was a lot of bad stuff out here," Jim Stearns, the emergency manager for Umatilla County, said, according to the Seattle Times. "People used to ask me, 'Doesn't it worry you to live there?' My answer was always, 'Yes, but I still feel safer than I would driving in Seattle.' I'm just glad it's gone, and I'm ready to see what happens next."
The incineration process went off without any major incidents and cost approximately $2.5 billion. It will be a few years before the Army completes the cleanup, as it must tear down the incinerator and do some restoration of the environment. Community leaders have come up with several plans for use of the space, which was originally selected to stockpile conventional military weapons in 1939.
In a plan still awaiting congressional action, the Oregon National Guard would take more than 7,400 acres, 5,600 acres of shrug steppe would be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a wildlife refuge and two other areas would be set aside for commercial and industrial development. The community has fielded inquiries from Amazon and the Red Cross.