Mr. Mustard to Stay in Colorado

November 23 2004, 8:15 AM

Did you know there are 2,611 tons of toxic mustard gas being stored in Pueblo? The Pueblo Chemical Depot says it will cost $151 million to destroy the gas. The spending bill Congress passed this weekend, at the request of the Bush Administration, slashed all but $4.1 million of the money allocated to destroy the stash. Senator Wayne Allard got the amount increased to $47 million, but even with the bump, we'll be living with Mean Mr. Mustard until 2010, at the earliest.

Craig Williams of the Chemical Weapons Working Group said that when the program started in 1985, the Army and the Pentagon promised Congress the stockpile of 31,000 tons of chemicals would be destroyed by 1994 at a cost of $1.83 billion. "Twenty-eight years and $26 billion over budget -- clearly the message is that this program has been horribly managed," Williams said. "It's now 2004, and they've destroyed 28 percent of the stockpile, and the projected budget is $24 billion, and we're hearing the real cost is closer to $30 billion,'' Williams said.

A weapons destruction plant will cost 2.65 billion to build, run and then close. $47 million seems like a drop in the bucket. Forget 2010. We may as well learn to get along with Mean Mr. Mustard because it looks like he's here to stay.