Environmentalists, Army dispute area

Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ANCHORAGE - The Army will explode munitions on the Eagle River Flats this week as it continues efforts to open the area to year-round training that includes firing artillery shells.

Summer training has been banned by the Army since 1992 after white phosphorus in munitions was linked to mass waterfowl deaths in the 2,200-acre flats.

Environmentalist groups said reopening the flats to year-round shelling will put wildlife at risk, especially Cook Inlet beluga whales.

Bob Shavelson of Cook Inletkeeper said there's no other whale habitat that's part of an active bombing range in the United States. Keeping toxic chemicals out of wildlife habitat is his group's preference, he said.

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