Support FUSRAP Transfer

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment supported legislation that would have transferred jurisdiction of the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) under the US Army Corps of Engineers. Read MCE’s op-ed in The Hill supporting FUSRAP in 2016. The bipartisan legislation passed the U.S. Senate then failed to pass in the House of Representatives. There will not be a legislative effort to transfer the site to FUSRAP now that the EPA has released its proposed remedy. However, MCE continues to support FUSRAP involvement at the site as the lead contractor responsible for the removal of the radioactive contamination in fulfillment of the EPA’s forthcoming Record of Decision. Our research through the Freedom of Information Act reveals that West Lake Landfill was explicitly excluded from the FUSRAP cleanup list because the Dept. of Energy did not want to be the “deep pockets” to clean-up the radioactive contamination. That’s why the EPA eventually listed the DOE as one of the financially responsible parties at the site.

FUSRAP was established specifically to clean up sites contaminated as a result of early nuclear weapons and energy programs in the United States. It is currently cleaning up sites along Coldwater Creek and in downtown St. Louis contaminated by the same Manhattan Project waste found at the West Lake Landfill. FUSRAP has the expertise necessary to clean-up the radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill because it has already removed radioactive material from a landfill in Massachusetts, and it already has a local office established in the St. Louis region that is accessible to the community. Through interagency agreements with EPA Region 7, the Army Corps of Engineers is already familiar with the West Lake Landfill site.

FUSRAP is also less likely to be influenced by financially responsible parties. The Army Corps of Engineers are their own contractors or they hire contractors that report to them. This removes the incentive for contractors hired by the financially responsible parties to represent corporate profits over the well-being of the surrounding community. The Missouri Coalition for the Environment is part of a broad coalition of organizations that supports the transfer of the landfill to FUSRAP because it is in the best interest of the community. FUSRAP has the expertise to clean up the landfill in the most protective manner. That’s why we remain in support of FUSRAP doing the actual removal of the radiation and need your help including this goal in your public comment.

Community members meet with Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, who supports transferring the West Lake Landfill to FUSRAP (2016).