News


DATE=4/15/98
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-40056
TITLE= NAPALM TRAIN
BYLINE= MICHAEL LELAND
DATELINE= CHICAGO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  A FREIGHT TRAIN CARRYING MORE THAN 45-THOUSAND LITERS OF 
VIETNAM-ERA NAPALM IS MOVING SLOWLY THROUGH THE AMERICAN 
SOUTHWEST, THOUGH ITS FINAL DESTINATION IS UNCERTAIN.  THE 
CHEMICAL WAS USED IN FIREBOMBS DURING WORLD WAR TWO, AS WELL AS 
THE KOREAN AND VIETNAM WARS.  THE U-S NAVY PLANNED TO SHIP THE 
NAPALM TO THE MIDWEST STATE OF INDIANA, WHERE IT WOULD BE 
PREPARED FOR INCINERATION.   THE RECYCLING COMPANY NOW SAYS 
BECAUSE OF POLITICAL AND PUBLIC PRESSURE, IT WILL REFUSE TO 
ACCEPT THE SHIPMENT.  MORE FROM VOA'S MICHAEL LELAND IN CHICAGO.

TEXT:     SINCE THE END OF THE VIETNAM WAR, THE U-S MILITARY'S  
TEN-MILLION KILOGRAM SUPPLY OF NAPALM HAS BEEN STORED IN 
THOUSANDS OF CANISTERS ON A MILITARY BASE NORTH OF THE CITY OF 
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.   SOME OF THOSE CANISTERS HAVE BEGUN TO 
LEAK, SO THE U-S NAVY HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR A WAY TO SAFELY 
DISPOSE OF ITS NAPALM.   LAST YEAR, THE NAVY SIGNED A 
TWO-AND-A-HALF-MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT WITH INDIANA-BASED 
POLLUTION CONTROL INDUSTRIES, WHICH WOULD CONVERT THE NAPALM INTO
A FUEL TO BE BURNED IN CEMENT KILNS.   

LATE LAST YEAR, POLITICAL LEADERS IN THE CHICAGO AREA WENT ON 
RECORD OPPOSING THE RECYCLING PLAN,  BECAUSE TRAINS CARRYING THE 
NAPALM WOULD PASS THROUGH THE REGION.  THE NAVY HELD A SERIES OF 
PUBLIC MEETINGS EARLY THIS YEAR TO EXPLAIN  THE RECYCLING PLAN, 
AND TO TRY TO EASE SAFETY CONCERNS.  ON APRIL TENTH, CITING 
POLITICAL AND PUBLIC PRESSURE, POLLUTION CONTROL INDUSTRIES TOLD 
THE NAVY  NOT  TO SHIP THE NAPALM AND ASKED THAT IT BE RELEASED 
FROM ITS CONTRACT.  THE FIRST NAPALM TRAIN LEFT CALIFORNIA ON 
APRIL ELEVENTH, THE DAY BEFORE EASTER.    U-S REPRESENTATIVE PETE
VISCLOSKY OF INDIANA IS UPSET. 

                      // VISCLOSKY ACT //  

         I THINK IT WAS ABSOLUTELY INAPPROPRIATE FOR THE UNITED 
         STATES NAVY IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT OVER THIS HOLIDAY 
         WEEKEND TO BEGIN THE SHIPMENT OF NAPALM.

                         // END ACT //  

REPRESENTATIVE  RON PACKARD OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IS UPSET, TOO.
HE BLAMES POLITICAL LEADERS FROM CHICAGO AND NORTHWEST INDIANA 
FOR THE PRESSURE THAT LED TO POLLUTION CONTROL INDUSTRY'S 
DECISION TO BACK OUT OF ITS CONTRACT.   THE REPRESENTATIVE IS 
CALLING ON THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO INVESTIGATE THE 
MATTER, WHICH HE SAYS RESULTED IN THE PUBLIC BEING FRIGHTENED OF 
THE SHIPMENT FOR  NO GOOD REASON.

                      // PACKARD ACT //   

         IT IS SAFE TO SHIP NAPALM -- MUCH, MUCH SAFER THAN 
         GASOLINE AND WE SHIP GASOLINE IN VIRTUALLY EVERY 
         COMMUNITY IN AMERICA EVERY DAY.  IT IS  NOT  A  SAFETY 
         FACTOR.

                          // END ACT //

ENVIRONMENTALISTS SAY THEY ARE PLEASED THAT POLLUTION CONTROL 
INDUSTRIES WANTS TO CANCEL ITS CONTRACT.  SCOTT SEDERSTROM IS A 
SPOKESMAN FOR CHICAGO-BASED "CITIZENS FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT." 
HE SAYS THE NAVY DOES  NOT  HAVE TO MOVE THE NAPALM ANYWHERE TO 
SAFELY DISPOSE OF IT.

                     // SEDERSTROM ACT //  

         THERE ARE  NON-INCINERATION TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN BE 
         USED TO DISPOSE OF THE NAPALM.  IT WOULD BE BETTER TO 
         USE THOSE ALTERNATIVES ON-SITE (IN CALIFORNIA) THAN TO 
         USE THIS  COCKAMAMIE (SENSELESS) SCHEME OF SHIPPING IT 
         HALFWAY ACROSS THE UNITED STATES IN ORDER TO DISPOSE OF 
         IT.  THIS IS  AN UNSAFE PRACTICE.

                          // END ACT //

THE U-S- NAVY SAYS IT IS COMMITTED TO RECYCLING ITS SUPPLY OF 
NAPALM, THOUGH IT SAYS  NO  DECISION HAS BEEN MADE ABOUT WHAT TO 
DO WITH THE SHIPMENT THAT LEFT CALIFORNIA LAST SATURDAY.  IT IS 
DUE TO REACH INDIANA BY EARLY NEXT WEEK.  (SIGNED)

NEB/MJL/PLM

15-Apr-98 2:59 PM EDT (1859 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.