Homeland Security to test chemical weapons near Kansas / Oklahoma border
Government announces biological and chemical tests in Oklahoma.
The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it plans to conduct both chemical and biological tests at a location close to the border between the states of Kansas and Oklahoma.
Officials from the department have said that they plan to conduct a ‘low-level outdoor release’ of certain inert chemical and biological materials at the now-closed Chilocco Indian School. The campus is based in Oklahoma and is six miles away from Arkansas City in Kansas.
The tests will be conducted in January will a follow-up examination in June. According to the department, the test will be used to determine how much protection people have if they stay inside during a terrorist attack involving biological weapons.
The biological and chemical agents who will be used are considered to be completely harmless to human health. The particle test will involve titanium dioxide which is described by the department as being a "white, odorless powder that is chemically insoluble in water, nonreactive, nonflammable and nonhazardous."
The biological test will involve the release of genetic barcoded spores of a currently marketed insecticide called Dipel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the agent is neither harmful to human health nor to the environment.
However, despite the claims of the government that the testing will have no adverse effects on the local population, there are still those who are worried about the proposed project. Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas has made it clear that he is closely monitoring the situation and that he has some questions about the test. "While it's important for our federal agencies to test their abilities in response to threats, we need to be 100 percent certain this test is safe for the residents of south-central Kansas, ” he said to reporters.
The Department of Homeland Security has also come under muted criticism from authorities in Arkansas City who claim that the media reports were the first indication that they had about the proposed testing project. While they say that they believe that the inert materials will not be harmful to people living in the immediate area they are still gathering information to make the situation as safe as possible for the local population.