Missouri Organizations Urge Protection of Missouri Floodplains from Dangerous Landfills

June 25, 20132013-06-25-NewsConfWeb

Missouri Organizations Urge Protection of Missouri Floodplains from Dangerous Landfills
Hearings on West Lake Radioactive Waste Landfill, Labadie Coal Ash Waste Landfill Set for Tuesday Evening


SAINT LOUIS – Today, The Sierra Club, Missouri Coalition for the Environment and Labadie Environmental Organization hosted a press conference urging protection of Missouri’s waterways from current and proposed waste landfills along the Mississippi, Meramec, and Missouri Rivers. The press conference preceded two hearings set for Tuesday evening relating to landfill issues in Missouri.

Many toxic landfills lie in the floodplains of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec Rivers in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The groups stood in front of the elevated Mississippi River, demanding urgent action to clean up current waste sites in the floodplains, and prevent the construction of dangerous and risky new landfills.

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Landfill Fire Moves North

MCE and Community Members Host Public Meeting:

Republic Service’s Landfill Fire Mitigation System Fails TMP GIW Map ExplainedWeb

 

St. Louis, MO – The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) and community members near the problematic Republic Services landfill in Bridgeton held its second public meeting in two weeks. Thanks to Missouri’s Sunshine laws for public information access, MCE obtained the most current Temperature Monitoring Probe data from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). (see TMPs data).

“The data show clearly that the subsurface landfill fire has moved beyond the equipment that was meant to stop its advance toward tons of radioactive wastes leftover from the purification of uranium for nuclear weapons,” said Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “Essentially, the ‘fire line’ is breached.”

MCE has long advocated for the removal of the radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site. The EPA stated at January meeting on West Lake that the landfill fire was 1,200 feet from the radioactive wastes. Last week the Attorney General said the landfill fire was 1,000 feet from the radioactive wastes. The Temperature Monitoring Probes (TMPs) map shows temperatures nearly 170 degrees Fahrenheit in TMP 2, one of the northern most probes. (see map). Temperatures above 130 degrees indicate a subsurface smoldering event – or a landfill fire.

“This failed plan has cost St. Louis months of precious time while the fire is moving. Federal, state, and local elected officials and government agencies charged with protecting the people can no longer allow Republic Services to call the shots. We don’t have time for failure. Delays in stopping this fire will ultimately just cost us more,” said Kathleen Logan Smith, Environmental Policy Director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

 

Elevated Temperatures North of the Interceptor Wells

 

TMP-2 30 5/15/2013 80 ft. deep 169.3 degrees

 

TMP-3 29 5/9/2013 90 ft. deep 154.8 degrees

 

TMP-5 29 5/9/2013 140 ft. deep 177.4 degrees

 

TMP-11 30 5/15/2013 76 ft. deep 166.7 degrees

 

TMP-12 29 5/9/2013 55 ft. deep, 147.3 degrees

 

TMP-13 29 5/9/2013 89 ft. deep 173.1 degrees

 

TMP-14 29 5/9/2013 101 ft. 174.4 degrees

 

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment and dozens of community members sent letters 5/24 to the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over the landfill fire, and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has jurisdiction over the radioactive waste in the Superfund site at West Lake, asking both agencies to publicly share plans and procedures for the next phase of the response to this crisis.

 

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Veolia Contract Flawed

Veolia Water Contract Effectively Privatizes Water Operations,

Threatens Public Accountability Provisions of Sunshine Law

 

(ST LOUIS)- A legal analysis reveals that a proposed contract with Veolia Water, a French multi-national corporation, would give the foreign company control of St. Louis waterworks and undermine citizen rights to obtain information about operations under the Sunshine law.

While promising more transparency in government, Mayor Francis Slay has claimed repeatedly that the contract is merely a consulting contract seeking advice on running the St. Louis Water Division. However, the contract itself contradicts this view.

“The provisions of the proposed contract make it crystal clear that that the operations of the City’s Water Division would be under the control of Veolia- that’s privatizing,” said Kathleen Logan Smith, Director of Environmental Policy with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “The contract goes far beyond a typical consulting contract. I cannot understand why our city’s politicians would claim otherwise, unless they have not read it.”

A legal review finds that the plain language of the proposed contract contains troubling articles that give away the city's intellectual property rights to Veolia, effectively eliminating the ability of the City to run the Water Division in the future.

Great Rivers Environmental Law Center conducted the review and explains the impact of the flaws found in Article 8 of the proposed contract: “This is troubling because it provides that a private for-profit multi-national corporation will become owner of all ideas for improving the St. Louis City Water Division, a public entity. The City will no longer own the designs for its systems. The public Water Division will, in effect, no longer be public.”

The contract states that the City shall provide Veolia with offices, desks, copies, internet and access to the City’s facilities, personnel and information technology systems (Article 13). Great Rivers Environmental Law Center points out that with Veolia employees sitting side by side with City employees, and having access to the City’s information technology systems, it will be impossible to prove that an idea is developed solely by the City and not jointly with Veolia. Thus, Veolia would have rights, under this flawed contract, to all the information and will be in control of the St. Louis City Water Division’ data, practices and operations.

In a blow to transparency and accountability, the contract also threatens to undermine Sunshine law provisions because once a private company shares office space and computer systems with a public entity, the private company will easily be able to convince a court that almost everything is “proprietary” and a “trade secret.” The legal analysis notes, “After Veolia has access to the City’s computer systems, there will be nothing to prevent it from requiring the City to deny many Sunshine Law requests on the basis that the information is now proprietary to Veolia. The City’s records will, in effect, be privatized and the Sunshine Law eviscerated.”

“Privatization of the St. Louis water system is a fait accompli if this contract is approved and Mayor Slay has indicated repeatedly that privatizing the water system will require a vote of the people,” said Logan Smith. “Either this contract is rewritten or the people of St. Louis get to vote.”

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment is one member of the Dump Veolia Coalition which opposes Veolia’s involvement in the St. Louis water system because of the company’s record in this country and internationally.

Read the proposed Veolia Water contract, posted by the Riverfront Times here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/120846549/St-Louis-Veolia-Contract

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