Two months ago, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said his agency would release soon a plan to address radioactive waste in the St. Louis area. State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, tells Missourinet she’s waiting to hear Pruitt’s plan about the Westlake and Bridgeton Landfills.
“It always takes too long for the EPA,” says Chappelle-Nadal. “On top of that, this is a billion dollar interest. These corporations, are pushing against it. If you were Exelon and Republic Services, would you want to be responsible for paying billions of dollars back?”
For years, area residents have complained about the health risks of World War II era nuclear weapons waste and underground fire fumes inching closer. Those who live or have lived in the area have reported a list of health battles, including cancer, autoimmune disease and some cannot have children.
Prior to Pruitt, the EPA has insisted that the waste does not pose a public health threat. An EPA spokesperson tells Missourinet the agency will unveil details in a few months.
Chappelle-Nadal, who has been vocal about the area’s contamination issues, wants to know how far the plan will go.
“The easier thing for me, which I don’t think it’s ever been the focus of the EPA, has been a buyout,” she says.
Chappelle-Nadal, along with state Rep. Mark Matthiesen, R-Maryland Heights, proposed this year a buyout program for residents living near the landfills. The legislation died in the state House on the last day of the regular session.
She plans to propose similar legislation next year but with a larger statement. Chappelle-Nadal wants to increase the liability to include the whole region of St. Louis, instead of this year’s bill which included 120 homes.
She also hopes the EPA’s plan will include a final record of decision, conducting radioactive waste at least three miles around the landfill and moving the authority of the contaminated site from the EPA to the Formerly Utilized Site Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP).
FUSRAP handled the St. Louis Airport Project Site (SLAPS) and the Latty Avenue cleanup site. Uranium was stored near the airport from 1947-1967 and at Latty Avenue from 1967 to 2010.
If the EPA’s decision would include keeping the waste onsite, Chappelle-Nadal says that does not eliminate the contaminants in the watershed, the methane underneath people’s homes or the chemicals in the air.
Chappelle-Nadal says she’s not going to let the people of her district be used by what she calls Pruitt’s fake agenda.
“When it comes to the EPA and Scott Pruitt, either piss or get off the pot. Stop using Westlake Landfill as a bullet point and you’re not doing sh** to remediate the issue,” she says. “We want things done. Talking about it and doing something about it are two different things.”