Letter: Disposal of Hazardous Waste in our area

Dear Editor,

I note both the Minden Press-Herald and the Times (Shreveport) carried similar articles about the destruction of M6 propellant at Camp Minden. When the contract with ESI was first written, actually when the initial Request for Proposals (request for technical and finical information) was issued, sometime before anyone was sure of what could be accomplished toward the goal of clean destruction of M6 propellant, without pollution. The RFP contained a provision, specifying the removal of the “Clean Burn System” upon completion of the contract. Remember, the Citizens Committee was in the formative stage, many firms were being contacted for proposals.

The original concept of the Citizens Action Committee was to stop the open burning of obsolete and waste hazardous materials. It was to demand clean technology to solve the problem.

Louisiana is one of the United States. We receive the benefits of our Armed Services, they protect us and secure our freedom. We (Louisiana) has an obligation to supporting these forces. Citizens, have also supported technology to reduce vehicle accident deaths. This has been accomplished in part by the invention of passive restraint systems (air bags).. Several times per year many people enjoy displays of fireworks, The railroads and ships use flares as safety devices. All things which benefit our lives. As a result, some of the items used for these things become obsolete , are in cars which are scrapped, are not used and become too old, become obsolete. They are then hazardous waste. .We (Louisiana) has an obligation to support the disposal of this waste materials. Disposal of hazardous materials is part of the complete cycle of ANY produce. Louisiana cannot reject this responsibility. We wanted it done safely and without pollution. This has been achieved. WE cannot say “Not in my back yard” and say it is not our obligation.

We wanted to STOP OPEN BURNING. A company was found that agreed to our approach, they contracted for a design which EXCEEDED our expectations. They have proven the design by destroying over 8-million pounds of the M6 propellant while providing an output air cleaner than the air in town. And NOW because of a contract clause, written when NO ONE knew if our desires were attainable, a small group wishes to destroy the system the citizens of the USA purchased. We have the world’s best system for disposing of unneeded energetic materials. It produces NO pollution, it creates 30 good paying jobs, it provides Louisiana with world leadership in this field. Camp minded has storage bunkers, which have been proven by four (4) actual tests to meet or exceed the design criteria for storage magazines.

Some members of the Citizens Committee would like the System to be removed from Camp Minden, and the burgeoning environmentally friendly disposal industry eliminated in our area. Why, ESI has demonstrated they can operate as the citizens required. Why would the Webster Parish area wish to eliminate a safe, environmental friendly, job creator? Who is making safe disposal of hazardous waste a BAD industry? Contracts are routinely amended when new and better information becomes available. This is a public contract, and can be open and legally amended.

Louisiana’s name has appeared on the lower portion of many lists, are the citizens now afraid to be a world leader in a necessary technology?

Sincerely,
Lee C. Estabrook

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