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Aviation Consultants Detail Risks Associated with Covance Facility

caged monkeyHazardous chemicals. Fire hazards. Disease outbreak. These are all legitimate concerns for residents of Chandler, Ariz., where animal-testing company Covance Laboratories intends to construct a giant experimentation facility. Williams Aviation Consultants Inc., on behalf of PCRM, has compiled a risk assessment of the future Covance facility. The assessment was an eye-opening look at the potential adverse effects this laboratory could have for local residents.

On December 5, PCRM general counsel Dan Kinburn, Esq., and PCRM medical research adviser Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., sent the results to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, respectively, for consideration.

The Williams firm, expert in matters of security and transportation, has combined experience with the various services within the Federal Aviation Administration and with law enforcement agencies within the federal government. The firm’s analysis of the Covance facility indicates that the proximity of the facility to the Chandler Municipal Airport makes it vulnerable to an airplane crash, and its proximity to both the airport and the Santan Freeway increases its vulnerability to attacks. Another major concern is the storage and disposal of test substances and chemicals, which pose a potential explosion and fire hazard.

The assessment reports that there is no other biomedical research facility currently in Chandler and that the city failed to fully evaluate, determine, or address the risks posed by this type of facility.

PCRM and 12 Chandler residents, most of whom live within a mile of the planned building site, are also in the midst of a lawsuit against the city of Chandler. The lawsuit alleges that the city violated state law and city ordinances by holding nonpublic meetings discussing Covance’s plan to secretly abandon its original building site on Price Road to the rezoned Airpark property currently under construction. In addition, because the city approved Covance’s plans through a highly accelerated process, the city has done little or nothing to ensure these risks are minimized and little or no security assessment has been done by the city. The judge is likely to issue a first ruling in the case in early 2008.


PCRM Online, January 2008

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