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Galvanized Facebook group aims to stop M6 open burn at Camp Minden

Almost 2,700 people have signed on to a Facebook group in recent days to oppose an open burn of millions of pounds of M6 propellant deserted at Camp Minden by a bankrupt munitions recycler in 2013.

The group, Concerned Citizens of the Camp Minden Open Burn, wants to stop the open burn that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to carry out over a number of months in Webster Parish.

State Rep. Gene Reynolds (D-Minden) is heartened by the social media surge. He told Red River Radio late Thursday it’s refreshing to see an outpouring of concern over the EPA plan. He’s asked the EPA to postpone the burn.

“Because the last thing we want to do is make a hasty decision that may be harmful to our constituents,” Reynolds said. “We want to be fair. I think maybe the State of Louisiana is afraid the federal government will pull the money we’ll have to pay for [the disposal]. We shouldn’t be worried about money right now. We should be worried about the health and welfare of our people here.”

Frances Kelley of Louisiana Progress Action says hundreds of north Louisianans have signed an online petitionurging lawmakers to intervene and calling for a stop to the EPA’s disposal plan for the 15 million pounds of abandoned artillery.

“There are real risks to human health that are posed by this open burn method. There are real alternatives that are not only safe, but can be done quickly that the EPA needs to choose one of those instead,” Kelley said.

Kelley says concerned citizens will meet Saturday at 10 a.m. at Shreve Memorial Library Broadmoor Branch to discuss grassroots efforts. Reynolds says he’ll hold a private meeting Tuesday with the EPA, a local scientist and representatives from the state’s congressional delegation.

An explosion in 2012 in one of the bunkers created a 7,000-foot mushroom cloud. M6 is used as an explosive propellant for launching artillery shells.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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