Colorado loses bid to increase speed of chemical weapon destruction

A federal court denied the state of Colorado's lawsuit on Wednesday that sought the authority to set a deadline for the U.S. Army to destroy the chemical weapon stockpile at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

The state argued that the Army needs to come up with a schedule to meet the 2017 deadline set by Congress to destroy the mustard agent. Colorado argued that it should have authority based on its hazardous waste laws. The decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by a lower court that threw out the state's lawsuit, Associated Press reports.

The appeals court ruled that Congress has the power to regulate the process and that the legislative body had extended the deadline as least six times. According to the Army, the stockpile may not be eliminated until 2019.

"(The state's regulatory attempt) interferes with the measured, flexible and frequently revised approach Congress has taken to destroy these weapons," the three-judge panel said, according to the Denver Post.

The judges pointed to the recent U.S. Supreme Court case regarding Arizona's immigration laws in which the court determined that federal law takes precedent when a state law attempts to achieve the same results using conflicting means.

The original deadline for the stockpile's destruction was 2012. The depot contains more than 700,000 munitions in total.

The state is currently deciding whether or not it will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.