The U.S. Army has agreed not to burn toxic chemicals at its new Tooele incinerator until after a federal judge holds a hearing on the issue in late July.
U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell scheduled the hearing for the week of July 22, setting aside four days for arguments. However, she also agreed to hear the Army's motion to dismiss the case on Monday, July 1.A coalition of environmental, citizen and veterans organizations including the Chemical Weapons Working Group and Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in May seeking to block the Army from incinerating deadly nerve and blister agents at the Tooele facility.
The group contends the incinerator violates federal environmental laws and poses an "imminent and substantial danger to public health." It also argues there are better ways to dispose of the chemical weapons.
Ashley Schannauer, one of the group's attorneys, welcomed the delay in the incinerator's start up. "We want an opportunity to present our evidence before the plant starts burning these chemicals, and the judge has given us that opportunity."