Congressman Ron Estes shares his reaction to chemical testing proposal at Chilocco


ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Over the last week, there have been protests and meetings near the Kansas/Oklahoma state line over concerns regarding proposed chemical testing at the Chilocco Indian School.

Republican Congressman Ron Estes of Kansas, says his legislative staffer that covers the Department of Homeland Security attended one of meetings seeking more information.

“There’s a lot of concern at the citizens in and around Ark City,” said Estes. “You know, that’s only five miles away from where the school is. So, you know, questions around air quality, around water and soil quality and issues there.”

The DHS is aiming to test inert chemical and biological agents at the site next year.

They say it’s solely to experiment on how to better prepare if the U.S. faces a biological or chemical attack.

But, Estes also has questions of his own at this time.

“I’ve seen the report in terms of what they’ve announced they’re wanting to do,” he said. “But, we’re wanting to try to understand what are the gases that they’re going to use. How they’re going to do it? What is it that they’re really doing to do this testing?”

He says the first he heard about the possible testing was from the news.

“I think the Homeland Security did a pretty poor job in presenting what they’re trying to accomplish trying to get this presented to us,” said Estes. “And so as a result, people are much more anxious of what they’re really trying to accomplish.”

Estes says until he has more answers from the DHS, he will not be taking a stance.

He also says citizens’ safety is his primary concern.

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