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Union members in Shreveport get updated on Camp Minden's M6

Kate Archer Kent

The Central Trades and Labor Council of Shreveport and Vicinity AFL-CIO was briefed last night on the plan to burn 16 million pounds of abandoned, deteriorating M6 propellant at Camp Minden.

How the M6 will be destroyed is still up for debate. An open tray burn has fueled widespread opposition. About 30 people listened to Rep. Gene Reynolds of Minden and LSU Shreveport chemistry professor Brian Salvatore.

Reynolds is trying to bring the agencies involved to the table. That includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army. Reynolds spoke to reporters before the briefing holding a thick manila folder he calls his Camp Minden file.

“We’re at a point now where the political pressure is pretty high against the open tray burn. We have the EPA telling the DEQ that they can make a fundamental change and not lose our $20 million in the bank already [to dispose of the M6]. DEQ seems to think that’s not the case, so they write a letter back. About once a week we’ll have a DEQ letter then an EPA letter.

"Last week when I was in Washington the Army representative refused to talk to me. All I was trying to do there was to get them to come down and have a meeting with the people and the elected officials to talk about the open tray burn because they’ve done this before in the past. I think we’re at a point now with Congressional delegation pressure and pressure from the public that we may get an alternative method of disposal."

Reynolds says five bid proposals have been submitted to the Louisiana National Guard for an open burn of the M6. The groups will have until mid-April to come up with a solution under the EPA’s 90-day extension period.

Central Trades AFL-CIO serves union members in five parishes, including Caddo, Bossier, Red River, Webster and DeSoto Parishes.

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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