Covering Louisiana

Sep 13, 2013 4:18 PM by AP, PHOTO: MGN ONLINE

La. hiring contractor to remove explosive material

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana intends to hire an outside contractor to dispose of 18 million pounds of military propellant that authorities said had been improperly stored at Camp Minden.

State lawmakers agreed without objection Friday to let the state Military Department use federal money to pay for the contract to remove the explosive materials, whose discovery led to the evacuation of a small town last year.

Six executives of Explo Systems Inc. have been indicted on felony charges related to the storage of the materials. The men have pleaded not guilty. Trial is set for Nov. 4.

Explo was leasing space at Camp Minden, a Louisiana National Guard installation in northwest Louisiana, and had a multimillion-dollar military contract to separate military propellant bags and resell the components.

An explosion last October led to an investigation. A Louisiana State Police investigator later discovered what authorities considered millions of pounds of an improperly stored propellant called M6, leading to the evacuation of nearby Doyline.

Explo Systems said the materials were not explosive.

After its discovery, state police monitored the movement of the material to proper storage sites at the military installation.

The Military Department didn't know how much federal funding it will receive to dispose of the propellant, which it estimated would take one year, according to information provided to lawmakers.

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