An editorial from today's Daily Spectrum:
Keep tabs on Divine Strake
The latest delay to detonate the 700-ton ammonium nitrate and fuel oil bomb, Divine Strake, until the early months of 2007 is a strong indication that not all was well with the planned test.
Suspicions about the environmental safety from the low-yield nuclear simulation at the Nevada Test Site, 150 miles west of St. George, stemmed from questioning instigated by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and later by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. A lawsuit from the Western Shoshone Indians and Downwinders from Utah, in addition to public outcry, rightfully influenced the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Nuclear Security Administration's Nevada Site Office to withdraw its "finding of no significant impact" in an environmental assessment of the proposed test.
The biggest open-air chemical blast ever proposed for explosion at the Nevada Test Site should not be forgotten; its intended objective as described in Department of Defense budget documents is to, "develop a planning tool that will improve the warfighter's confidence in selecting the smallest proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities while minimizing collateral damage."
Though the federal government has since denied the claim, it is evident the examination into developing new weaponry to destroy deeply buried, underground structures is the direct course of action it wants to take and means Divine Strake is not entirely off the boards, whether it is set off in Nevada or another location. Vigilance dedicated to its testing will not relent, which means neither should the local contingency with its legitimate outcry of opposition.
It is important the public keep this issue at the forefront with fearless tenacity - as if lives depended on it - because they very well may be. Holding the government accountable for its actions is a duty not to be negated, especially when it comes to the health, safety and welfare of Southern Utahns and the state as a whole.