PRESS RELEASE March 24, 2016
New Radioactive Reports from EPA are Cause for Concern at the Smoldering West Lake Landfill
St. Louis, MO: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new report on the extent of radioactive wastes at the smoldering West Lake Landfill in St. Louis County. The report shows the newly discovered radioactivity is closer to the ongoing smoldering fire than previously known. The EPA has so far refused, for over one year, requests by MCE and local residents to test the entire North Quarry as a grid for radioactivity.
"Without testing the entire area between the smoldering fire and the radioactive wastes, the EPA cannot say with any confidence the distance that separates these two problems,” said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “We need the bipartisan federal legislation that will transfer the site to the Army Corps of Engineers to pass the House of Representatives immediately.”
Attorney General Koster has publicly supported the federal, bipartisan legislation that will put the Army Corps of Engineers’ specialized nuclear waste cleanup program in charge at the West Lake Landfill. The Corps’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) is currently in charge of all the ongoing radioactive cleanup sites in the metro St. Louis area.
The new maps indicate the EPA has moved its jurisdictional boundary for Operable Unit 1 (OU-1) Area 1 to include parts of the North Quarry, or Operable Unit 2 (OU-2), which used to be under the jurisdiction of the State of Missouri. Governor Jay Nixon’s Department of Natural Resources and Attorney General Chris Koster, through his lawsuit against landfill owner Republic Services, used to be the lead jurisdiction of the part of the North Quarry. It’s uncertain at this time what the transfer of jurisdictionally responsibility entails.
“We have yet to hear directly from Governor Nixon about the issues at the landfill and it’s not for a lack of trying,” Smith added. “We need to know if Governor Nixon and AG Koster support Senator Chappelle-Nadal’s legislation to buyout nearby homeowners or what else they can do to help the people who live near the smoldering landfill through no fault of their own.”