Camp Minden has become a major source of concern for residents in the area after an explosion uncovered millions of pounds of improperly stored explosives found at Explo Systems. Residents near the Webster Parish facility were forced from their homes for days while the material was re-located to a safer area but the job still isn’t finished and the concern is still there.
The Committee on Homeland Security got a firsthand account of the situation facing the residents of Doyline and others in the ArkLaTex and until the criminal investigation of the company begins, there’s still no word from Explo as to what happened at their plant.
Thursday, officials with the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard and the Department of Environmental Quality, testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security about the 10 million pound problem at Camp Minden.
“From a legislation stand point, we’re going to review the various over sight responsibilities of the agencies because clearly there’s not one agency that has control over this” said state representative Jeff Thompson.
Officials say that the cost to store and protect the millions of pounds of M-6 explosives that Explo Systems left unattended, is running up a tab with the state. But, because Explo was a no-show at the hearing on Thursday, answers to the questions about reimbursements were left on the table.
Attorney for the citizens of Doyline, Kyle Robinson, said “the residents of Doyline are not just interested in winning a lawsuit and making a financial recovery, they want to participate in the whole process of making their community safe”.
Robinson says that Explo may run out of cash after Explo attempts to repay what they owe the state.
Since Explo was a no-show at the hearing, and until the criminal investigation begins, we won’t know the full extent of the problems the company is facing.
State representative Thompson told the agencies involved that “we’ll fix the problem, you guys fix the blame”.
Officials are looking at $7 million owed from the first explosion and with constant police presence at the facility; they say this latest incident will easily eclipse that amount.
The state is currently storing all but 3.2 million pounds of the explosives in 21 igloos, rent free.