State of Louisiana calls on EPA HQ to fulfill responsibility to Louisiana residents and safely dispose of Minden explosives

Jan 16, 2015

Baton Rouge - Today, DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch and Louisiana National Guard Adjutant Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis called on the EPA to fulfill its obligation to Louisiana residents and safely dispose of M6 explosives at Camp Minden. In a letter today, Hatch and Curtis called on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to “intervene to address the persistent mishandling of M6 disposal at Camp Minden by EPA Region 6.”

Hatch and Curtis point out that their agencies have signed an agreement with EPA to effect the disposal of the more than 15 million pounds of explosives using the open tray burning method EPA insisted upon. EPA has failed to provide adequate scientific information about the process, and as a result of that reticence, public opposition to the open burn method has grown.

“EPA Region 6, for reasons that we cannot explain, has consistently been unwilling or unable to articulate the science behind its decision to use the open burn tray methodology,” the letter states. In response to questions and criticisms from citizens and officials left uninformed, the EPA issued a letter on Jan. 15 suggesting that it will “remove any barriers to the State selecting an equal or more protective remedy at Camp Minden.” Hatch and Curtis point out that any change to the disposal method would void the agreement.

“The suggestion that the State should void the agreement in response to failures of EPA Region 6 is ludicrous. Breaking our agreement is not an option for the State of Louisiana. It is also very troubling that its own failures have resulted in EPA Region 6 attempting to abandon its responsibilities as lead agency on the project. We urge you to intervene in this important matter to assure the citizens of our State that open burn tray disposal is not only the most expeditious but also the safest methodology.”