BATON ROUGE, LA (KSLA) - The Louisiana National Guard is still trying to find a way to dispose of 19 million pounds of military propellant that authorities said had been improperly stored at Camp Minden.
10 million pounds of propellant were found to be improperly stored there by Explo last October. That discovery resulted in a criminal investigation, an evacuation, and a huge effort to secure the material, which now includes another several million pounds of military propellant that was properly stored, but left behind following Explo's bankruptcy.
Executives of Explo Systems Inc. were indicted on felony charges related to the storage of the materials.
Explo was leasing space at Camp Minden, a National Guard installation, with a contract to separate military propellant bags and resell the components.
The state Military Department had planned to use federal money to hire an outside contractor to remove the explosive materials. But those plans got sidelined by the federal government shutdown and continuing questions about federal funding for agencies.
Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis told the House homeland security committee Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Defense has ignored Louisiana's requests for assistance to remove the explosive materials.
At the same hearing, legislators learned that the EPA has notified others, not just Explo, that they're responsible for clean up and costs. According to Representative Jeff Thompson from Bossier City, the Department of the Army is being held partly responsible for cleaning up the mess.
"With the EPA involved in sending notices to the Department of the Army, and other potentially responsible parties, we're trying to make sure that the tax payers don't get left footing the bill for a company that was irresponsibly handling the propellant," said Representative Thompson.
Those committee members were also updated on timelines for the removal of the propellant and the legislation proposed to keep this sort of thing from happening again.