The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency didn’t set up a public comment period about plans to burn 15 million pounds of artillery propellant, so the Webster Parish sheriff set up a meeting to talk about it.
People from the EPA and state Department of Environmental Quality will lead the meeting Thursday evening at the Minden Civic Center, Sheriff Gary Sexton told the Minden Press-Herald.
“There are still a lot of concerns out there about the clean-up process,” Sexton said.
LDEQ secretary Peggy Hatch said she will be there. “I feel it is beneficial to all concerned parties to have as much information as possible about the entire process,” she said.
Regional Superfund director Carl Edlund also will be there, EPA officials Monday.
Sexton has invited congressional officials, local delegates, members of the parish police jury and school board, as well as mayors and councils from area towns, and said the public is encouraged to attend and ask questions.
Edlund said last month that the propellant will be burned in shallow trays, under emergency rules which don’t include a public comment period. That’s to ensure that it’s destroyed within a year – Army experts say it will become more unstable about a year from now, Edlund said.
Sexton said he’s concerned that smoke and emissions could cover a large area of Webster Parish.
Edlund has said that the burning won’t create a lot of smoke because M6 is a smokeless propellant.
“I think the people have the right to voice their concerns about the effects it could have on the environment,” Sexton said. “If EPA says this (open pit burn) is a done deal, that’s something we have to live with. But I do think they are obligated to answer the questions of the people that live around here who are going to smell it or see ash on the hoods of their cars.”
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