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Burn chamber up for sale

by David Specht

Chamber must be removed from state, proposals accepted until Friday

For sale. One “slightly used” contained burn system. Must pick up at Camp Minden.

The Louisiana Military Department is accepting proposals for the immediate removal of the Contained Burn System at Camp Minden, a public notice appearing in various newspapers across the state said.

“The property for removal consists of an installed Contained Burn System and all Components used for the Emergency Destruction of M6 Propellant project located on Camp Minden, Louisiana, in response to the declaration of a State of Emergency Camp Minden,” the notice said.

“Proposals shall contain: (1) a cash price to be paid for the Contained Burn System and all Components, or other consideration paid and the terms by which such consideration is paid; (2) a written description of the proposer’s plan to remove the Contained Burn System and all Components from its foundation; (3) a written description of the proposer’s plan to transport the Contained Burn System and all Components out of the State of Louisiana.”

The notice, and subsequent opening of bids ends a months-long dispute over ownership of the system, according to State Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden.

“In a conversation with General (Glenn) Curtis, he confirmed that the state owns the chamber and are seeking bids for the sale,” Reynolds said. “It is my understanding that we have several interested parties that will bid. The chamber must be moved once the sale is approved.” Curtis is Adjunct General for the Louisiana National Guard.

Reynolds said he is meeting with Gov. John Bel Edwards Monday and will discuss the issue further.

State Senator Ryan Gatti, R-Bossier City, said he is pleased with the progress being made at Camp Minden.

“The citizens of South Webster and Haughton can breathe easy knowing the burn chamber is being sold and removed. I’m honored to represent them. They came together, worked very hard and built a consensus,” Gatti said.

Gatti has a unique perspective on the plight of the community around Camp Minden. “As the attorney for the people in the class-action against Explo and now as their state senator I am very familiar with their concerns with Explo and with explosives so close to their home,” Gatti said. “The people of Doyline have earned the right to determine the level of safety they can expect in their community.”

The removal of 16 million pounds of improperly stored M6 repellent at Camp Minden has been an ongoing subject of controversy throughout the community. However, Gatti said the actions of citizens ultimately won out.

“The citizens of South Webster and Haughton are hard-working God-fearing people. It is rare that the people’s voices are heard and acted on. The way the community came together has set an example for others to follow throughout the state,” he said.

”I’m glad that the final chapter in the Explo cleanup has come to an end. The citizens of Doyline can rest easy knowing they will be safer.”

Gatti also commended Explosive Services International (ESI) for their work in disposing of the M6. “We are truly thankful to Jason Poe and ESI, Incorporated. They achieved results above and beyond anyone’s expectations for the cleanup. They restored faith in the community,” Gatti said. “I would recommend their company to anyone. They operate with integrity, honesty and with the people’s safety as their primary concern.”

Gatti said there is still work to be done holding the company deemed responsible for the improper storage of the M6 accountable. “The case of the people versus Explo continues in Webster Parish Court. We will not stop until justice is rendered,” he said.

Proposals will continue to be received at Camp Minden until 10 a.m. Friday.

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