Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fascinating: EPA Even Betraying Enviromental Dems!


Experts question EPA’s credibility on controversial Camp Minden burn

By Chris Butler | Louisiana Watchdog

A state representative wants government officials pushing an open burn of 15 million pounds of dangerous M6 propellant at Camp Minden to testify under oath and make their statements public.
State Rep. Eugene Reynolds, D-Minden, made the comment Tuesday at a news conference in Shreveport, alongside three key players who oppose the burn. With Reynolds were Louisiana State University Shreveport chemistry professor Brian Salvatore; Craig Williams, who identified himself as the president of an organization called the Chemical Weapons Working Group; and Jane Williams — no relation to Craig — executive director of California Communities Against Toxics
They and others say releasing M6 propellant material into the northern Louisiana atmosphere is bad for the environment and can induce cancer, high blood pressure or birth defects.
Photo courtesy Louisiana State Legislature's official website
Photo courtesy Louisiana State Legislature's official website
Eugene Reynolds, D-Minden
But Reynolds stressed that safe alternatives exist, although they are more costly. They also called the EPA’s integrity into question more than once.
“What we need to have is a joint meeting of the Homeland Security Oversight Committee,” Reynolds said, adding it would help all the players involved learn more about what EPA officials are thinking.
“They want you to get tired and give up, but don’t do that,” he said, likely referring to a grassroots effort, formed in Webster Parish and beyond, to stop the EPA.
Salvatore faulted the EPA’s scientific methods, saying they are using computer models instead of real site data to determine whether a burn is safe.
EPA spokeswoman Jennah Durant earlier this week told Louisiana Watchdog agency officials were using air modeling.
EPA officials are not conducting an environmental impact statement before the burn, as it might require of private landowners or business owners.
Salvatore said that wasn’t good enough, even going so far as to accuse the agency of falsifying data.
“We have more of a problem than just an explosive hazard of unprecedented proportions in our state. We also have more than just this environmental hazard. We have a problem with the very credibility of the EPA, and I believe a lot of pressure being put on the EPA by the U.S. military to push things along,” Salvatore said.
“If things become known here then a lot of things are going to become known around the country. Things that have been concealed. Things that could lead to hundreds of billions of dollars of environmental remediation that is necessary if we want to protect the public’s health, things that are unknown at this point.”
In response to Thursday’s news conference, EPA spokesman David Gray said the agency wants to dispose of the M6 in the safest way possible. Photo courtesy Flickr
In 2012, a storage bunker containing explosives at Camp Minden, a training site for the Louisiana National Guard, exploded. The explosion, according to an EPA release, generated a 7,000-foot mushroom cloud.
Explo Systems, responsible for maintaining the explosives, was under contract with the U.S. Army to demilitarize surplus munitions, the EPA said. The company has since gone bankrupt, according to the release.
The Louisiana Military Department soon assumed ownership of the remaining 18 million pounds of explosives at the site. EPA officials then initiated negotiations late last year to dispose of them.
Reynolds said federal officials may have tried to keep publicity of the burn, in an official public notice, to a minimum.
“They said that they published it in the newspapers, and they did,” Reynolds said.
“They published it in remote areas and then an obscure newspaper in Spring Hill, which is a great newspaper, but it doesn’t have a whole lot of circulation. No one read about it.
When asked about that, Gray said the EPA issued a news release in late October and the Minden newspaper, which has a larger circulation, publicized a community meeting on the topic.
Photo courtesy LSU-S
Photo courtesy LSU-S
Brian Salvatore
Craig Williams, whose group is based in Kentucky, said media outlets haven’t stressed enough that viable alternatives to open burning exist.
“If I was to scope out all the possible ways to dispose of M6 materials stored in Louisiana and the list went all the way down to the worst way to do it, other than throw it in the creek, it would be to open burn this material,” Williams said, adding those alternatives include static detonation chambers and controlled detonation chambers.
“I’ve been an avid anti-incineration activist for almost 30 years. For me to say that goes against my belief that incineration is an acceptable technology for the disposal of almost anything, but even that would be head and shoulders above open burn or open detonation technology.”
Jane Williams said the federal government prohibited the open burning of hazardous waste in 1976.
The EPA granted the military an exemption to that law in 1980s on grounds that waste explosives have a tendency to create huge over-pressures when burned, Williams said.
But, Williams said, the point of the news conference was to let people know that, due to new alternatives, the military’s exemption is now outdated.

No comments: