UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — State senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal first demanded that St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger declare a state of emergency in parts of St. Louis County located over landfills that contain radioactive waste. Now, she’s demanding federal hearings on EPA “negligence.”
Characteristically, the St. Louis Democrat did not mince words, saying the region was suffering from a “legacy of federal incompetence” that she believes has resulted in a “possibly national security risk.”
Chappelle-Nadal’s complaints stem from a long-running dispute over areas like the West Lake landfill, where radioactive waste was dumped following the conclusion of the Manhattan Project. While Chappelle-Nadal blames the EPA for the current circumstances, the agency wasn’t founded until the 1970’s, decades after the dumping took place. Some contend that the sites were not properly designed to store the toxic materials and the radioactive waste may have contaminated other surrounding areas as well.
Republic Services Inc., the current owners and operators of the West Lake landfill, will be headed to court next year as Missouri’s Attorney General, Chris Koster contends that they violated state law and provided negligent management of the area. The company contends that many of Koster’s expert findings are “scientifically wrong” and refers to the site as “safe” and “intensely monitored.”
Chappelle-Nadal’s complaints began not long after Koster’s report. The second-term senator contends that some locations, like the St. Louis County Board of Elections offices, are at risk because of their close proximity to an underground landfill. Thus far state officials have not conclusively ruled on any health risks associated with West Lake or other nearby sites.
But Chappelle-Nadal insists that “rare cancers and diseases” are on the rise in North St. Louis County, and blames the EPA for not properly monitoring the waste disposal process.
“Some have likened the EPA’s incompetence to having allowed a ‘dirty bomb’ to be placed in the center of the country,” Chappelle-Nadal said in a statement.”
In her statement, the state senator calls on Missouri U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt to support calls for hearings before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
“She is seeking action from the federal government and local leaders to address the environmental and health disasters by the leftover and illegally dumped waste,” the statement reads.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.