If Republican Governor Eric Greitens calls a special session, State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wants the Missouri Legislature to require that lobbyists publicly release what parties they represent. She says the issue could be added to ethics-related legislation, such as lobbyist gift restrictions to lawmakers.
“I’m certainly working with other Representatives and Senators and am going to add some language for full transparency when it comes to lobbying organizations and making sure that they have enough information so the public knows that they are bought and paid for by big corporate entities,” she says.
Chappelle-Nadal blames lobbyists working for Republic Services waste company for the failure this session of her proposed buyout for residents living near a St. Louis area radioactive landfill. She and state Rep. Mark Matthiesen, R-Maryland Heights, proposed Senate Bill 22, which would have used $12.5 million in state funding to pay fair market value for 91 homes near the West Lake Landfill. During budget discussions, lawmakers changed that figure to $1 million. On the final day of the session, the Missouri House failed to pass the measure.
Chappelle-Nadal goes as far as calling those lobbyists baby killers who work for the devil.
“They are just reckless in their participation in trying to cover up the radioactive waste,” says Chappelle-Nadal.
Residents who live or have lived in the area have reported a list of health battles, including cancer, autoimmune disease and some cannot have children.
She has also condemned state Rep. Joshua Peters (D-St. Louis) for opposing her legislation.
For years, area residents have complained about the health risks of the World War Two-era nuclear weapons waste and underground fire fumes coming from a landfill. The EPA, which oversees the radioactive material in the landfill, insists that the contamination does not pose a public health threat.
Chappelle-Nadal says lobbyists should also follow a moral code of ethics.
“They were just making up things,” she says. “None of these lobbyists show that they were working on behalf of Republic Services.
Chappelle-Nadal specifically calls out lobbyist John Bardgett.
“He was going to offices non-stop to lobby against Senate Bill 22,” she says. “But it’s not shown in his Missouri Ethics report as a principal.”
Chappelle-Nadal says the $1 million designated for Senate Bill 22 will continue to sit in the Department of Natural Resources because the money is tied specifically to her bill.
If the issue can’t be addressed during a possible special session, she plans to file the bill again next year.
Chappelle-Nadal wants EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to personally receive a full briefing about the landfill issue. Missourinet has contacted the EPA in Washington twice this week about Chappelle-Nadal’s request. The EPA has not responded yet to our inquiries.