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ESI alleges illegal activity by Citizens Advisory Group

Vice President of Explosive Service International, Jason Poe, sent a letter to EPA Acting Regional Manager (Region VI), Sam Coleman, detailing what ESI – the company tasked with disposing of the M6 left by Explo at Camp Minden – believes to be illegal activity by the Citizens Advisory Group and asking for the group to be disbanded or brought into compliance immediately.

In the five-page letter obtained by the Minden Press-Herald, Poe accuses the CAG of engaging in “lobbying, protesting, misinformation and outright lying to the public in an effort to oppose the future lease.”

Officials with the EPA confirmed the letter was received Thursday, but declined further comment.

The letter also accuses the CAG of violating the law when they refused membership to two in February; John Madden, co-owner of Madden Contracting, and Brandon Mosley, an ESI employee.

According to the letter, the Camp Minden Site Removal Action receives financial support from the EPA under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The Code of Federal Regulations states any CAG must be made of “substantially equivalent proportions” of the following four groups: private citizens who have no financial interest (positive or negative) in the project, representatives of public interest groups, public officials and citizens or representatives of organizations with substantial economic interest in the plan or project.

ESI says denying membership to Madden, a member of the fourth group, is in clear violation of federal membership standards for CAGs.

Madden has expressed his interest in becoming business partners with ESI, should they be allowed to remain at Camp Minden when the disposal of the M6 is complete, but currently has no business ties to ESI.

Later in the letter, Poe questions the CAG’s use of Dr. Brian Salvatore, a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University Shreveport, as a technical expert and adviser when the EPA, through their TASC subcontractor (SKEO), have provided a combustion expert, Dr. Slavo Lomnicki, to advise the CAG on all technical matters related to the burning of M6 propellant.

Included are several posts from Salvatore on Facebook. In one post, Salvatore said he believes the burn chamber is releasing “20-30 lbs. of benzen and toluene per day. This is being covered up by ESI . . .”

In the letter, Poe said Lomnicki made a formal presentation to the CAG of his on-site findings regarding the facility’s emissions, but now the CAG is relying on Salvatore’s opinion instead.

“Dr. Lomnicki does not condone the technical misinformation and radical views which Dr. Salvatore espouses,” Poe writes.

Ron Hagar, board chair for the CAG, said he expects the group’s bylaws to shield them from any allegations detailed in the letter.

“We’ve never told anyone they weren’t welcome at a meeting,” Hagar said. “Did they say anything about our bylaws? It states our purpose is to follow the plan of the dialogue committee. Part of the consensus agreement of the dialogue committee was for that unit to be removed at the completion of the emergency operation. We feel allowing people in our CAG who want to keep it there is a violation of our bylaws.”

Blake Branch

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