A freshman Republican House member from Wentzville is hoping a bill she’s sponsoring gets traction from the Missouri Legislature. The measure would ask the U.S. Government for compensation for the St. Louis region’s role in the Manhattan Project, which ushered in the development of atomic weaponry.

Rep. Tricia Byrnes, R-Wentzville, tells Missourinet that the radioactivity has led to increased cancer cases and diseases resulting from exposure that she says match the diseases documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is atomic bomb weapons facilities, you know these production type facilities, that were in the community before cleanup and the fact that nobody took accountability for any of the injuries across these locations throughout St. Louis and St. Charles,” Byrnes said.

House Concurrent Resolution 21 says Missourians in the St. Louis and St. Charles region have been made ill, due to the Manhattan Project, through the inhalation from smokestack emissions, exposure to radiation, and contact made with contaminated quarries, creeks, and groundwater. Further, it says that the U.S. Government produced 300,000 tons of uranium in the St. Louis region as part of the project to produce the atomic bomb from 1942 to 1966.

“What people aren’t talking about is the atomic production plant,” Byrnes says. “The nuclear processing that took place 1,000 feet from an operating high school, and it takes people a second to realize that that high school did not build next to the uranium processing plant. The federal government built that next to an operating high school.”

Byrnes asks the Missouri Attorney General, and several state agencies, to conduct a joint investigation into whether the state of Missouri, and its residents, can be compensated by the federal government for the radioactive contaminants from the resulting project.

A committee is considering the bill and could vote on it next week.

Click here for her full interview with Missourinet.

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