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Is money an obstacle in EPA’s M6 decision?

by Minden Press-Herald

Could money be a factor in the delay of the Environmental Protection Agency making a decision on the final contract for the disposal of the millions of pounds of M6 propellant stored at Camp Minden?

In response to Thursday’s article on the EPA update, questions were raised regarding the reason for delay in issuance of the federal agency’s decision on the disposal method. Col. Pete Schneider, with the Louisiana Military Department, says it’s possible the holdup could be related to money, but he would not say definitively.

“I don’t know that, but it’s possible because they’re the bill payer,” Schneider said. “I know EPA is really close to sending us something, because we’ve been talking to them for the last couple of days.”

David Gray, director of external affairs at EPA Region 6, confirmed they are wrapping up their review and “finalizing our response to LMD.”

“While the (Administrative Order on Consent) only requires us to act if we disapprove, I expect that we will respond to LMD even if our action is to affirm their recommendation,” he said.

The AOC still states the method of choice is the open tray burn, which means it would have to be amended – which means signatures would be required by the EPA, LMD, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of the Army.

“The LMD is ready to sign for an alternate form of disposal,” Schneider said.

Gray was asked about the EPA’s statement that money would be no obstacle in its final decision, and reaffirmed that statement was made.
“You are correct that the community was promised that money would be no obstacle when it came to choosing an alternative,” Gray said in an email to the Press-Herald. “I don’t know the details of the state’s technical review process of the vendor application…however, I can say that money has not been an obstacle in our review of the LMD recommendation to us.

“Through the Dialogue (Committee) – everyone recognized that an alternative might need additional money as well as require a modification to the AOC between EPA, LMD, LDEQ and the Department of the Army,” he continued. “As stated earlier letters to the state, EPA remains committed to both removing any barriers to selecting an alternative remedy and if it is determined that a modification to the AOC is necessary to implement an alternative – to support LDEQ and LMD in doing so.”

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