Bipartisan effort to shift West Lake cleanup to Corps of Engineers hits congressional roadblock
From Article St. Louis Post-Dispatch July 13, 2016
Reps. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, and William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, co-sponsors of the legislation shifting control to the corps, told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that they believed that the EPA for far too long has delayed dealing with the hazardous waste at West Lake, which contains nuclear waste from World War II atomic bomb projects.
They said they had no confidence in the EPA’s promise to come up with a strategy by year’s end, and were worried about ongoing environmental threats to residents.
EPA Document Says Radioactive Removal Possible
From the Missouri Coalition for the Environment: “On June 15th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an internal review from the National Remedy Review Board (NRRB) that criticized EPA Region 7’s decision to cap and leave the waste. The NRRB is a panel of experts within the EPA that reviews Superfund decisions. This document was sent to EPA Region 7 in February of 2013, but not released to the public until last week, despite a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by MCE in 2014.
The NRRB believes that EPA Region 7 underestimated the cost and risk of capping and leaving the radioactive waste. It also states that removal of the radioactive waste is feasible, as it is occurring at other sites around the country, and also may be cheaper and safer than the EPA’s decision to cap and leave all of the radioactive material. This document provides additional proof that the Army Corps of Engineers is the most experienced agency and should be in charge of the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.
Click here for ways you can help.
Contact House Committee to Pass Bill for West Lake Landfill Clean Up
In February, the US Senate unanimously passed SB2306 which would transfer jurisdiction at West Lake to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). The Corps is responsible for cleaning up our nation’s nuclear weapons legacy of radioactive contamination in populated areas like St. Louis.
The legislation is now held up in the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Committee Chairman Upton & ranking member Congressman Pallone received a response to their questions from the Corps of Engineers to questions they had about the legislation. (Read the response here.)
The Corps of Engineers said they would “execute the law in accordance with its requirements” if the bill passed. Let’s make that happen! Pick up the phone and call Congressman Upton & Congressman Pallone and ask them for a committee vote on legislation that unanimously passed the U.S. Senate. Click here to fill out the Missouri Coalition for the Environment form which will then provide talking points and the phone number you need.
Big Steps Forward Towards West Lake Landfill Clean Up
The Environmental Protection Agency said it plans to create a specific unit to study groundwater contamination at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site. Click here
The St. Louis County health department said on Feb 10 a health survey of residents living near the West Lake and Bridgeton landfills will begin in about two weeks, a year after its initial announcement. Click here.
Women’s Voices is a supporter of the Missouri Clean Energy Coalition whose mission is to grow our clean and renewable energy economy to reduce fossil fuel pollution, address climate change and create jobs.
Clean Air Missouri is a campaign of the Missouri Clean Energy Coalition (MCEC), which is a statewide coalition of stakeholders including elected officials, faith organizations, clean energy businesses, academic institutions, and environmental organizations who care about securing Missouri’s energy future, strengthening our economy and creating a healthy environment for all Missourians.
We are committed to ensuring the state develops a comprehensive, clean energy plan that will reduce carbon pollution, build a strong economy with quality jobs, create healthy air and secure an independent energy future for our state.
Member organizations and supporters include representatives from public health organizations, environmental groups, clean energy businesses, faith communities, academic institutions and elected officials.
MCEC members are organizations that designate a contact person to join the coalition’s coordinating committee, which include:
- Missouri Interfaith Power and Light
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Earthdance Farms
- Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice
- Organizing for Action – Missouri
- Sierra Club
- Jewish Environmental Initiative; a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis
- Populists in Action
- Renew Missouri
- Ethical Society of St. Louis
- Central Reform Congregation
- Missouri Coalition for the Environment
- Mid-Missouri Peaceworks/Missourians for Safe Energy
- Labadie Environmental Organization
- Diesel Health Project
- Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Community
Members of Women’s Voices believe that public transportation is an issue that involves social justice, economic justice, and environmental concerns. A comprehensive, responsive and robust system of public transportation is a necessity for citizens throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. Individuals depend on public transportation to get to jobs, medical appointments and entertainment venues. Businesses depend on public transportation to get workers to their jobs. The elderly and disabled depend on public transportation to meet many of their needs. Lack of efficient public transportation is also an environmental issue. More cars on more roads leads to greater fuel consumption and more greenhouse gas emissions, which results in additional air pollution and contributes to global warming.
On April 6, 2010, residents of St. Louis County voted to approve a ballot measure authorizing a half cent sales tax increase to provide operating funds for MetroBus, MetroLink and Call-A-Ride services. Women’s Voices endorsed this measure. However, we believe that sales taxes, in general, are regressive and disproportionately affect low and moderate-income individuals. Although we endorsed the tax increase, we also called upon Metro and local, regional and state officials to investigate alternate methods of providing long-term, sustainable support for public transportation in Missouri.
Public Water Supply
In the Spring of 2013 St. Louis City officials began to explore the possibility of an agreement with Veolia Environment, a multi-national French corporation, to take over some operations of the St. Louis City Water Department. Women’s Voices, along with the the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and other groups, opposed this proposal. Veolia has a dismal track record after being involved in water operations in other cities. In Oct. 2013, after facing intense opposition, Veolia took itself out of consideration for the contract. We believe that we must always be on guard against attempts to privatize a city’s water supply or operations.
The High Cost of Cheap Meat – Revamping Our Food System for the Future Women’s Voices program: April 12, 2012
Speaker: Kathleen Logan Smith, executive director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Renewable Energy Standards
In February 2013 Women’s Voices signed a resolution in support of full implementation of Missouri’s Renewable Energy Standards. In 2008, voters passed the Renewable Energy Standards Act, which required utility companies to supply two percent of energy they sell to Missouri customers from renewable energy sources starting in 2011. That percentage gradually increased to five per cent by 2014, 10 per cent by 2018 and 15 per cent by 2021.