A resolution seeking the removal of millions of pounds of M6 propellant from Camp Minden has been completed by the Webster Parish Police Jury and forwarded to the Environmental Protection Agency.
While other private petitions and public body resolutions specifically oppose the open burn method which EPA and the military have identified as the preferred disposal method, the police jury opted to avoid specifying how the material should be destroyed.
Instead, the resolution asks that the removal be conducted “…in the manner that is safest and time effective.”
President Jim Bonsall says the police jury has always been concerned about getting rid of the M6, but delayed drafting a formal resolution until as much information from all parties involved could be studied. And, he pointed out, that includes statements from the group footing the bill for the cleanup.
“The Army said they were not going to pay for anything except open burn, and (the M6) is getting older and older, and here we sat between a rock and a hard spot,” Bonsall said. “This stuff has to go away. If the open burn is as nasty as they say, we have to ask which is worse, the open burn or the explosion.”
Bonsall says jury members waited until more facts were available, then decided to pen a resolution that was not about the method of disposal, but focused on the need “to get it out of here in the safest manner possible.”
Without mentioning the open burn method, the police jury’s resolution asks the federal agency “…to prevent any method of disposal of the M-6 propellant at Camp Minden that would cause harm to the citizens, the air quality, water quality, and any other danger that the disposal could create.”
Additionally, the jury’s resolution demands “the EPA hold Public Hearing(s) to educate the citizens of the dangers and possible effects of any approved disposal method prior to implementation of M-6 disposal.”
“We’re hearing there are six methods of potential safe disposal, but we’ve not found out yet how many of the six methods are available to us,” Bonsall said. “There are still some problems other than deciding on the method to use, like is the method available to us and if so, how long will it take. Answers are needed now.”
Bonsall says he is satisfied with the language of the resolution.
“It’s like I want it. We didn’t jump out there and say something we couldn’t back up. Three or four members wanted to do something a long time ago, but I kept putting them off, because I didn’t think we were prepared at the time to do something I thought would be meaningful,” he said.
“We listened to a lot of people, including experts from both sides, and made a determination of what would be the best opinion which could be expressed on behalf of our constituents,” Bonsall added.
Members of the jury voted unanimously (11-0 with one absent) at their Feb. 2 regular meeting to authorize that attorney Patrick Jackson and secretary-treasurer Ronda Carnahan prepare a properly formatted resolution.