UNIVERSITY CITY — “I applaud the congressional delegation for proposing concrete action on Westlake Landfill. Filing legislation in the House and Senate to remove the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a positive step towards putting the remediation of radioactive waste into more capable hands. However, it still falls short of an all-inclusive approach to providing a safe environment for people in the St. Louis region.
The Federal Government must provide the Army Corps of Engineers broad authority to investigate additional dump sites in St. Louis City and County. The pervasive dumping and underground leakage has caused environmental contamination, which threaten the proposed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and stadium sites. Airborne and water contamination causes illnesses to workers and residents, for which only next year will St. Louis County begin to investigate. The legacy of the Manhattan Project has had a negative effect on our regional economy by burdening our healthcare system, insurance companies and the productivity of industry. More action is required.
We don’t know the extent of the problem and only testing using alpha, beta and gamma detection methods will fully identify all of the possible radioactive material at all sites; therefore the Corps must expand the search for radioactive waste. The Federal Government owes it to the State of Missouri to investigate and remediate all contamination in and around St. Louis. I’ve held over a dozen town halls and heard people’s stories. I believe this is not the end of the undocumented dumping.
The legislation does not address reported undocumented dumping at multiple unregulated sites around the St. Louis area. There is a nearly 30-year gap between the first processing of uranium in St. Louis and effective environmental regulation and tracking of waste to dumps and landfills. Even then, there are credible reports of illegal and undocumented dumping.
Residents attending over a dozen of my recent town halls detailed illegal dumping in areas of Northwoods, Maplewood, and the former City of Robertson. One resident provided an account of a family member hauling radioactive material to an unregulated dump.
Our federal delegation owes the people of St. Louis peace of mind and closure on this environmental catastrophe. I have been very vocal about this issue since the Westlake and Bridgeton landfills were included in my district in 2012. While this has been a long time coming, I am happy to continue to both inform and motivate for action.”