$19M To Start Destroying Artillery Propellant At Camp Minden

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Baton Rouge company has a $19.3 million contract to begin getting rid of about 7,800 tons of potentially explosive artillery propellant at Camp Minden, the Louisiana National Guard said Thursday.

         The contract and an order to start business, both signed Wednesday, mean Explosive Service International can begin building the equipment in which it will burn the M8 propellant and 160 tons of clean-burning igniter, Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis said.

         Company executives did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

- Sponsors -

         The Environmental Protection Agency has worked with the guard to make sure Explosive Service knows about federal and state requirements to protect the public, regional administrator Ron Curry said in a news release. He said the Louisiana Military Department — part of the National Guard — has 30 days to submit Explosive Service's work plan to EPA.

         "We are committed to expediting our review," Curry said.

         Curtis said the guard, which owns Camp Minden, and the company will explain the process at a community meeting. No date has been set, Lt. Rebekah Malone, a National Guard spokeswoman, said in an email.

- Partner Content -

Entergy’s Energy Smart Program Brings Cost Conscious Innovation to New Orleans

Offering comprehensive energy efficiency at no cost to the consumer, Entergy’s Energy Smart program incentivizes Entergy New Orleans customers to perform energy-saving upgrades in...

         Federal money is expected to bring the total contract to about $34 million to $35 million, the guard's news release said.

         Authorities learned there was a problem in 2012, when a bunker leased from the Guard by Explo Systems exploded. The blast shattered windows four miles away and created a 7,000-foot-high mushroom cloud.

         The out-of-state owners declared Explo Systems bankrupt after storing the material more safely.

- Sponsors -

         David Fincher, 65, of Burns, Tennessee, and David Smith, 57, of Winchester, Kentucky, have pleaded not guilty to 10 charges including unlawful storage of explosives and reckless use of explosives. A hearing is scheduled Sept. 28 on their contention that charges against them should be thrown out because Louisiana law does not classify the artillery propellant as an explosive.

         Nobody knows just how old the material is, but the Army has said M6 gets more and more unstable as it ages.

         The EPA said at first that open burning was the only way to dispose of it quickly enough to be safe. Community protests prompted an agreement that the National Guard could consider other technologies.

         – by AP Reporter Janet McConnaughey




Digital Sponsors / Become a Sponsor

Follow the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in New Orleans.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter