CAMP MINDEN, LA (KSLA) - Louisiana legislators have set a date to formally look into Explo Systems' storing of millions of pounds of black powder at Camp Minden in Webster Parish.
State Police launched a criminal investigation into the matter, and now the Louisiana House of Representatives Select Committee on Homeland Security has scheduled a meeting on February 28 at the Capitol to get answers.
"There's going to be some hard questions asked, and we're going to make sure we get those answers," says La. Rep. Jeff Thompson, a member of the select committee.
Thompson wants to know how the improper storing of millions of pounds of M6 propellant at Camp Minden came about.
"If you live in and around Doyline, or anywhere in Louisiana, and you pay taxes, you're entitled to some answers," Thompson says.
Thompson believes taxpayers are the ones who will end up paying for the rent that Explo reportedly owes Camp Minden, the possible loss of future revenue to the state, and the extra manpower used to oversee the clean-up.
"I'm very pleased with the progress we're making with securing this site. I'm not so happy with the answers so far on the lack of those regarding how we're going to go about getting the money that we've had to expend on Explo," Thompson says.
Committee members want to hear from Explo, and it's landlord, Camp Minden. But the pending criminal investigation launched by the parish and the state, will likely keep that from happening for now.
"I fully expect after that for there to be a lot more discussion. And whatever actions are appropriate, either from a command nature or on behalf of collecting part of the rent, we're not done," Thompson says.
Town hall meetings in and around Doyline will be held leading up to the meeting in Baton Rouge.
House committee members do expect to hear an update on the status of the investigation from state and parish authorities at the February 28 meeting.
KSLA's Fred Childers will travel to Baton Rouge to provide continuing coverage of these meetings and hearings.