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The startling successes of contemporary international arms control negotiations call to mind the old aphorism that one should be careful about what one wishes for, because the wish just might come true.

Today, disarmament diplomacy has wrought unprecedented triumphs across a wide range of global bargaining issues, producing a series of watershed treaties that offer spectacular new advantages for the security of the United States and for the prospect of enduring world peace. At the same time, however, these unanticipated negotiation breakthroughs have themselves generated unforeseen implementation problems, spawning a host of novel difficulties for which the traditional tools and methods of arms control are ill-prepared or inappropriate.

This Article examines one such difficulty: the potential legal and political conflict posed when a dramatic and crucial new arms control agreement, the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), confronts the equally fundamental and pressing dictates of national environmental protection policy. In short, the CWC will mandate the peaceful dismantling of massive national arsenals of now obsolete, but still exceptionally lethal chemical weapons (CW) agents, armaments, and facilities-and the destruction must be accomplished relatively promptly, reliably, and under the supervision of international inspectors. In the United States, however, long-standing environmental legislation, starting with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and continuing through a sequence of resource-specific antipollution enactments, mandates punctilious adherence to procedural safeguards (such as the preparation of disclosive Environmental Impact Statements) and compliance with stringent national and local substantive standards on emissions, hazardous wastes, community participation, and safety.

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89 NW. U. L. Rev. 445