Officials with the Louisiana Military Department say money is the holdup with actually signing a contract, but they are very close to doing so.

Col. Pete Schneider, spokesman for the LMD, says he doesn’t see an issue with the contract signing; the problem is the money is designated for the open tray burn process, not the alternative chosen. That means the Administrative Order on Consent must be amended along with the money to carry out the cleanup of the nearly 16 million pounds of M6 propellant abandoned by Explo Systems, Inc., at Camp Minden.

He also says the bids and methods chosen cannot be released to the public because the contracts have not been signed.
“Even though the EPA says they don’t disapprove, until the AOC gets worked out, which ties money to open tray burn, we officially have no money to issue a contract to the vender that was chosen,” Schneider said. “I can tell you we are working feverishly (to try and get it worked out). Once we get the contract officially signed, we can (move forward).”

The Department of the Army, the EPA, the Louisiana Military Department and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality must all sign off on the contract for it to become official, he says.

He would not give a timeline on when the contract would be signed, but said they are working on it every day.

“The issue is money right now, because of the AOC,” he said. “We’re close. I wish I could tell you it will happen today, but I can’t do that. We’re really close, though.”

Because Camp Minden is designated as a superfund site, the Department of Justice is the manager of those funds, Schneider says. He added everyone is working diligently to get the language of the AOC changed to account for the alternate method of contained burn chosen to dispose of the M6.

The price tag to dispose of the M6, according to Schneider’s figures based on the open tray burn method, is about $15 million. An additional $4 million was allotted for the environmental sampling and monitoring. The total is about $28 million, he says. The actual cost will not be known until the contract is signed and executed. To be clear, it is only an estimated cost.

The Camp Minden Citizens Advisory Group celebrated the victory of the community in stopping the open tray burn method of disposal. Eldorado Engineering will construct the contained burn unit to destroy the M6, but the contractor is Explosive Services International, which will carry the project from beginning to end.

It will take approximately five months to construct the unit and an additional 12 months to dispose of the M6, to the tune of destroying about 63,000 pounds per day around the clock.

Minden Mayor Tommy Davis, one of the first to object to the open tray burn along with State Rep. Gene Reynolds, says in a news release he is pleased with the selected process and supports CAG in its efforts to oversee the project and be the voice for the community as it gets underway.

CAG meets on the second Monday of each month at First Baptist Church in Doyline. The group is led by Ron Hagar, who says communities are counting on CAG to keep everyone informed about the process from beginning to end.

For more information, contact Hagar at 318-525-2324 or email hagaron@att.net.

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