On Dec. 7, you published in "Opinion" an article you headlined, "Slaying the chemical beast." It was a partial reprint of a November Houston Chronicle article headlined, "The price of peace," by Tony Freemantle.

We do not necessarily agree with all of the statements made in the original Chronicle version, a lengthy article of approximately 4,400 words. Yet we must strenuously object to the manner in which you edited the piece for your publication (to approx. 1,200 words). While we understand space limitations may have prevented publication of the article in its entirety, it was unfair to simply cut the original story at the place where no more content would fit, rather than doing the more difficult editing job and including statements that would have tended to "balance" the original article.As you are aware, a journalist's opening words are chosen to catch readers' attention. Freemantle's description of Rush Valley as "a poisoned place," because of its proximity to Dugway Proving Ground and Deseret Chemical Depot, raises instant and alarming concerns for readers. Yet we, at EG&G Defense Materials Inc., who operate the chemical weapons incinerator under the most stringent self- and regulatory scrutiny, most strongly believe that not one of the illnesses of Chip Ward's (of Grantsville) "neighbors" ever will be attributable to chemical weapons incinerator emissions.

Admittedly, the deleted portion of the Chronicle article contained statements both pro and con to EG&G's operations. However, your readers never saw what Houston Chronicle readers saw, statements such as these:

In Freemantle's words, "Incineration might be the safest and best method of destroying assembled chemical weapons, as the Army and its scientists insist."

"The incinerators . . . are unquestionably state-of-the-art facilities and if operated correctly do an efficient job. . . ," he added.

And, (in rare instances where incidents have occurred, for example, a contained leak of nerve agent), ". . . in each incident, the Army maintains, elaborate safety systems worked as designed and there was no threat to the environment."

Your readers did not see "the rest of the story." Your editing style ensured that.

Mark W. Mesesan

Assistant to the general manager

EG&G Defense Materials Inc.

Tooele