Members of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Executive Council attended a Chemical Demilitarization Transparency Event focused on destruction progress at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant and hosted online by the U.S. March 21-22.
During the event, officials provided an overview of chemical weapons destruction in the U.S. followed by a detailed update on progress at Blue Grass. Participants viewed recent videos from the ongoing destruction and received detailed information.
The OPCW Executive Council Chairperson, Director-General and Deputy Director-General of the OPCW, the representatives of the five regional groups and the U.S. permanent representative to the OPCW participated from the OPCW Headquarters, The Hague, Netherlands.
The event began with remarks from Department of Defense and State officials. Michael Abaie, program executive officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives; Kelso Horne, director, U.S. Chemical Materials Activity; and Lt. Col. Ed Williams, commander, Blue Grass Chemical Activity, provided briefings to the group. Dr. Candace Coyle, site project manager, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, provided an update on progress toward destroying the remaining chemical weapons stored in Kentucky.
The event also included a 20-minute video that provided an in-depth overview of the Blue Grass rocket destruction process, and discussion with a community member, Craig Williams, co-chair, Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board, or CDCAB.
“I want to express my deep appreciation for your tremendous support and the effort that went into the recently concluded U.S. Chemical Demilitarization Transparency Event focusing on the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant,” said Ambassador Joseph Manso, U.S. representative, OPCW.
The U.S. sponsored the event in a show of good faith as the COVID-19 pandemic has twice caused postponement of an in-person visit to the facility originally scheduled for March 2021.
“The Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission and CDCAB have an excellent relationship with the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives,” Williams told the council. He said he appreciated the council’s interest in the work of the citizens’ groups that help facilitate understanding and support of BGCAPP.