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Green Army to lend assistance to advisory committee

by Minden Press-Herald

Following the last EPA sponsored public meeting, a conference call was conducted to answer some questions about the legality of paperwork regarding the removal of the millions of pounds of M6 propellant at Camp Minden.

That conference call was discussed at Monday’s Camp Minden Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. Alice Bond, secretary of CMCAG, says the attorneys who were a part of the conference call were from the Tulane Environmental Law Firm and specialize in CRCLA (environmental) law.

“They clarified the difference between an AOC (Administrative Order on Consent) and an ROD (Record of Decision),” she said. “The Superfund site is divided into two actions – the remedial action and the removal action. The remedial action is a formal process and it needs to be listed on the National Priorities List and it requires a longer period of commitment before the Record of Decision. It focuses more on long-term solutions.”

The removal action, she went on to say, is much faster and the laws are more relaxed to allow quicker action. Camp Minden is under a removal action, which means the material stored there is an immediate threat.

“The CRCLA attorney says that we have no citizen enforcement angle in the middle of the Superfund action,” she said. “He was comfortable with the AOC, but he questioned the AOC being enforceable by the citizens. My take on this is we basically have no recourse on this but to trust that the EPA is going to be doing what they need to be doing.”

Ron Hagar, CMCAG chair, says the attorneys on the call answered many of the questions they had concerning citizens’ rights in protecting the environment during the disposal of the M6.

“I think we’ll be safe legally and health-wise if we have legal recourse to stop the process if we find out they are above the legal emissions standards,” he said.

However, he says part of the problem with the conference call was that some of the attorneys didn’t feel comfortable talking to attorneys selected by the community because they did not officially represent the citizenry. These attorneys were only acting in a consulting role during the call.
Jason Veitch, CAG member, says the community wants to feel comfortable with the decisions that are being made, and that’s why they continue to ask questions. During the conference call, he says, Dr. Brian Salvatore told the attorneys they needed to make the community feel comfortable with these decisions.

“That’s why we’re asking questions, because we’re uncomfortable, and we’re going to beat that horse until we’re comfortable that he’s dead,” Veitch said.

In other CAG news, members learned that Gen. Russel Honore, with the Green Army, is willing to lend his assistance during the disposal process to help CAG secure grants if needed and offer its resources.

Other things discussed included the baseline groundwater sampling, and Adam Adams, on scene coordinator with the EPA, says he has been in contact with the experts and is working on getting a workshop together for the public. CAG members asked that he get a definitive date for that workshop. Other workshops and public meetings are also in the works at dates and times to be announced.

Another community meeting will be at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 11, at the Webster Junior High School gym. The next CAG meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., July 13, at First Baptist Church in Doyline.

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