The Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission, known as the CAC, and its Permitting Working Group meet regularly to discuss the chemical weapons disposal program at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot and provide a valuable opportunity for local citizens to become involved. “Public participation is one of the hallmarks of the ACWA program,” said Irene Kornelly, CAC chair.
Don and Katherine Gibbs have attended CAC and working group meetings since they were established. Having lived near the Deseret Chemical Depot in Tooele, Utah, the Gibbses were acquainted with incineration activities at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. When the couple moved to Colorado and learned of the mustard agent stockpile stored near Pueblo, they were eager to have a voice in how the stockpile would be destroyed using a process known as neutralization followed by biotreament.
“Citizens like the Gibbses have faithfully attended almost every public meeting held during the advancement of the PCAPP program,” said Kornelly. “Their participation is a visible reminder to all of us that this program must ensure the health and safety of the residents of Pueblo County.”
In 1982, Katherine Gibbs began meeting with depot commanders to discuss plans for the disposal of Pueblo’s stockpile. “I believe you have a responsibility to the community in which you live,” she said.
“Katherine in particular is adamant about clarifying information or making her opinion known,” said Jeannine Natterman, a state health department public involvement coordinator who serves as CAC administrator. “Even in the face of adversity, these folks bounce back and challenge the agencies to make sure we’re on our toes.”
The Gibbses are in favor of the decision to neutralize and biotreat the mustard agent. “Water destruction is cleaner and easier on the environment,” Katherine explained. She said she believes the state-of-the-art facility built near the stockpile is the best way to destroy the mustard agent.
The Gibbses remain steadfast in their interest with the program. ”We keep plugging along,” Don said. “Every chemical weapon destroyed makes the world safer.”
“We are interested and want to see it get done,” Katherine added. “I can’t leave until it’s done.”
If you are interested in participating in the project’s regular public meetings, please visit the Public Involvement page for more details.