Thursday, Feb. 3, 2000 | 9 a.m.
President Clinton once again has exempted a top-secret Air Force Base in Nevada, commonly known as Area 51, from environmental laws that require the disclosure of hazardous materials use. Ever since a federal lawsuit was filed against the federal government, alleging that former Area 51 workers were poisoned by toxic materials, federal government attorneys have opposed efforts to release this information.
The federal government shouldn't be forced to jeopardize national security, but at the same time it is shameful that it resists acknowledging whether it placed workers in harm's way. The sad irony is that Clinton's directive was handed down at about the same time the federal government did the right thing last week in acknowledging -- after decades of denials -- that workers who were exposed to nuclear weapons production may in fact have contracted cancer and other illnesses.