NEWKIRK, Okla. – Residents of the small town of Newkirk, Oklahoma, near the Kansas border are worried about Department of Homeland Security plans to conduct a bioterrorism response drill near town.
The Department of Homeland Security announced it would be conducting biochemical warfare testing at the Chilocco Indian School in Newkirk next year. Testing months include January and February, then again in June and July.
“Whenever you hear somebody say, we’re going to be testing chemicals just miles from your home, miles from where you grow livestock, it’s scary,” Brittny Smith told KFOR.
The government plans to release what it says are inert chemicals into the atmosphere near the closed school to see if the powder could get into homes and buildings.
The department says the test is to determine how protected people would be when staying inside if biological agents are used in a terror attack.
But some concerned residents in Newkirk and nearby towns such as Arkansas City, Kansas, say they’ve been stonewalled by Homeland Security and don’t know enough about the chemicals. Most of their questions involve the government’s use of DiPel, a biological insecticide that’s approved for use in organic farming.
The government says it’s safe and won’t harm humans or animals, but residents say they need more assurances the chemical won’t get into a nearby waterway and acres of cropland.