DOYLINE — Concerns arose from some about the enforceability of certain standards in the documents that will guide the process of destruction of the M6 propellant at Camp Minden in an EPA-sponsored community meeting Thursday.
Frances Kelley, a Camp Minden dialogue committee member, says newer standards set for hazardous waste materials would not be enforceable in the Administrative Order on Consent because it cites standards set in the 1980s.
“I contacted the EPA, both Sam Coleman and David Gray, and I said you have the wrong regulations in this action memo, and that is a problem,” Kelley said. “Y’all told me it would be fixed. Here we are two months later and it has not been fixed. What we are talking about is the Clean Air Act, and the standards come from the Clean Air Act. That is what needs to be followed, because that is what the citizens on the dialogue committee understood that we were talking about the whole time.”
There are three documents that will guide the process of the destruction of the M6 from beginning to end – the action memo, the AOC and the work plan.
Dolores Blalock, also a dialogue committee member, questioned the legality of the standards because it isn’t in the AOC.
“What I’m understanding is it’s got to be in the AOC,” she said of the newer standards. “If it’s not in the AOC, it’s not right.
Right now, with the way things stand, it’s the 1980 standards in the AOC. Can the AOC be amended to include those (newer standards)? Can legal and enforceable levels of hazardous pollutants be written into the document that controls the incinerator emission? Will these standards be written out in detail in the main document, accepted as law and enforceable? Why do we have to leave those 1980 standards?”
EPA attorney George Malone expounded on that, saying that all three documents work together, which makes the standards enforceable.
“This particular AOC is not writing any particular standard,” he said. “That’s just not the kind of information that is included in an AOC. In its appendices, there is a ‘statement of work’ section which generally describes the work that will be performed, but it does not include specific air standards. The work plan is the document required by the AOC to include the details that will be accomplished, including the standards.”
EPA regional administrator Ron Curry says none of this was done lightly and believes the documents are solid.
“I think the legal advice that you heard from George is extremely correct,” he said. “I know that the AOC is enforceable in its current state. We believe in this document, otherwise we would not have spent the last several months in moving forward in the direction we have been moving to try to make this a working document. We had opportunities to have it not be a working document, but because of the legalities that were discussed here tonight, it is a working document, and it will cause the destruction of the M6. These discussions have not been ‘back of the envelope’ discussions. They’ve been very detailed discussions among the various parties. I will tell you that I firmly believe if for any reason if we went back and attempted to reopen this AOC, we would be taking at least a six month step backwards. With that being said, I still believe this document is solid and am willing to bank my reputation on it and the reputation of this agency on it.”
Army Col. Sam Mims (Ret.) cautioned them about changing the AOC so close to moving forward with the destruction of the M6. Although he couldn’t talk about the details, he says he’d seen the paperwork and changing it now would be a huge setback.
“I was in the Army for 30 years, and if you really want to delay this process, demand that the AOC be renegotiated,” he said, “and you will see bureaucracy at its finest. The four members of that AOC will be back on square one, and they don’t have to sign (anything), the money will be off the table, (and) we will be back to square one. So, before we push for the AOC renegotiated, we need to consider what we’re doing. We have worked hard to bring this to this point. We had a process – give it a chance to work.”
So to clear up the legal aspect of the documents, attorneys on both sides will meet via conference call to hash out the finer details to make sure everything is correct. As of press time, it is not known whether that conference call will be opened to the public.
Another public meeting has been set for 6 p.m., June 11, at Minden High School.