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Docs: La. Firm Overstated Storage For Explosives

Demand for recycled M6 is down because of declines in coal mining. Factors include low natural gas prices, a mild winter and difficulty obtaining permits, said Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.

Bissett said the coal industry really began to feel the effects in the first quarter of 2012. That would have been around when Explo asked the Louisiana Guard to rent more bunkers.

After the discovery of the improperly stored M6, the Guard let Explo Systems use an additional 22 bunkers, up from 78 it already had, but that still wasn't enough to store it. Louisiana authorities are still looking for bunkers to store the M6 that is now in buildings on the base.

Explo has been selling some of the material, but not as fast as authorities would like.

"In my personal opinion, I think they defrauded the military on their ability to store this material in Louisiana," Sheriff Sexton said.

The Army visited the Louisiana facility at least twice in 2010 after the propellant contract was awarded and two more times in 2011, according to Abney. Records showed no serious problems.

But this isn't the first time the company has come under scrutiny.

A series of about 10 explosions at the facility caused an evacuation of Doyline in 2006 and was cited for violations in West Virginia for its use of an old military explosive for coal mining in 2007.

And then there was the explosion in October.

"Oh God, I thought I was in Afghanistan," according to Doyline resident Gaytha Bryant, 56, who said the blast shifted her mobile home, causing thousands of dollars in damage. "There was this explosion, then the shaking, the grandchildren woke up screaming."

___

Follow Mohr on Twitter at http://twitter.com/holbrookmohr.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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