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Article posted Feb 05 2006, 3:24 PM Category: History Source: AP Print

Report Details Weapons Dump Off Hawaii

HONOLULU, Feb. 4 (AP) The military dumped large quantities of mustard gas and other chemical weapons in the ocean off Hawaii from 1944 to 1946, according to an Army analysis of military archives released this week.

The analysis also found more than 2,000 conventional munitions on the seabed about a half mile off Waianae, Oahu, in an area known as Ordnance Reef.

Hawaii's representatives in Washington asked for the accounting after learning of a 2001 Army report saying chemical weapons had been dumped in Hawaii waters in 1944.

The military stopped disposing of unusable munitions at sea in the 1970's. It now allows ships to dump weapons in the ocean only in an emergency.

Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Ed Case, Democrats of Hawaii, released the military's report.

Mr. Case said it was good news that the chemical weapons dumped off Hawaii were types that would not pose the biggest threat. But he said he was worried about the conventional weapons the Army found, because they were in relatively shallow water accessible by people.

Mr. Case said the military still needed to finish its investigation, search for any other undocumented munitions dumps and clean up the ordnance.

Mr. Abercrombie said he would introduce legislation calling for an underwater survey of sites where chemical munitions might have been dumped. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Democrat of Hawaii, said he would introduce similar legislation in the Senate.

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