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Radford Arsenal calls Blacksburg's claims factually incorrect

The town of Blacksburg passed a resolution outlining its concerns with the plant

RADFORD, Va. – The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is fighting back after the town of Blacksburg passed a resolution focused on health and safety concerns it has with the plant. 

The resolution named different concerns ranging from health hazards from open burning to violations that the town says were not reported. 

The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is responding to a resolution passed by the Blacksburg Town Council that calls into question the impact of the arsenal on the surrounding area. 

"First of all, I was just shocked and saddened and disappointed that we didn't have a communication stream available for them to reach out and ask us directly," said Lt. Col. James Scott, RFAAP plant commander. 

The resolution focuses on multiple concerns, including the dumping of hazardous waste, open burning and the high numbers of thyroid cancer in the new river valley. But arsenal leaders say many parts of the resolution are factually incorrect. According to Plant Commander Lt. Col. Scott, the plant does not dump any hazardous waste into the New River, open burning is only used when necessary and the plant is working to reduce it. The plant says there is no science that directly links the arsenal with cancer rates. 

"We are proud to house the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in the New River and we're proud to be part of this community and we want to build that relationship as we move forward," said Lt. Col. Scott. 

Thursday afternoon, Lt. Col. Scott met with Blacksburg Mayor-Elect Leslie Hager-Smith to go over the resolution and what the arsenal believes are factual errors. He says the meeting went well and he is hoping to forge a better relationship with the town. 

"We've kind of promised each other to open the communication chains. They're going to try to attend our community meetings, we'll try to work through some of their meetings as well," said Lt. Col. Scott. 

If people are concerned about the ammunition plant's impact or have questions, Lt. Col. Scott encourages them to stop by the arsenal's next community meeting December 14 at 6:30 at the Christiansburg Library.

We did reach out to Mayor-Elect Smith and she said she did not have a comment at this time. 

To see the arsenal's response to the town of Blacksburg, click here.

To view the full resolution, click here.