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Dayton residents fight Army plan to deposit waste
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Associated Press

DAYTON (AP) -- Residents who want to stop the Army from using their neighborhood to dispose of hazardous waste produced by destroying a deadly nerve agent are using the community's racial and economic makeup as a weapon.

The Army plans to transport hydrolysate -- a byproduct from the neutralization of VX nerve agent -- about 170 miles from its depot in Newport, Ind., to a private contractor in Jefferson Township for disposal.

VX is so deadly that a tiny amount of the thick, oily liquid can kill if it is inhaled or comes into contact with skin. The hydrolysate is not deadly, but is considered hazardous waste. Residents fear that a highway accident or plant mishap could spew it into their neighborhood.

So they have filed an environmental-justice complaint against the Army and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accusing them of racial and economic discrimination.

The Dayton-area residents say the material would be moved from Newport -- a rural area where none of the 578 residents is black and few are poor -- to a community where 35 percent of the residents are black and 35 percent live in poverty.

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