BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) — A group of nuns holds a prayer vigil outside the West Lake Landfill, a nuclear dump site adjacent to a burning landfill, asking the Almighty to move Congress to do more.
The Franciscan Sisters of Mary wants Missouri Senators Blunt and McCaskill — and Missouri Congressmen Clay and Wagner — to openly call for the removal of radioactive waste from the site.
“They could bring pressure to EPA and the government sources to take it over and get rid of the radioactive waste,” said Sister Jeanne Moyer.
KMOX contacted the offices of Blunt, McCaskill, Clay and Wagner to ask if they favor the removal of nuclear waste from the West Lake Landfill. All four avoided answering the question directly.
They responded with statements or letters showing they want the EPA to do more. But McCaskill, Blunt, Clay and Wagner all stopped short saying they want the nuclear waste removed from the West Lake Landfill.
Earlier this week, KMOX reported that St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is under similar fire — from environmentalists and neighborhood activists — to call for the removal of nuclear waste.
Dooley sent a letter earlier this month to the EPA expressing concern about radiation levels at the site, but he too stopped short of saying he wants the nuclear waste dug up and hauled away..
“This little thing is nothing to them,” Sister Moyer said, “Four or five thousand people out here, what does that mean to them? We’re just small little voters. But they don’t know the power of small little voters or of our coming together and praying.”
Senator Blunt’s office released a statement on whether he wants the nuclear waste removed from the West Lake landfill:
“My office has been in contact with the EPA, the DOE, and the Corps and someone from my staff has been at the West Lake Landfill meetings. We’re working to ensure this problem is addressed safely so the community and area residents can return to normal again.” – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.)
Congressman Ann Wagner’s response also sidestepped the question of whether she wants the nuclear waste removed:
“From her first month in office, Congresswoman Wagner has worked tirelessly with all parties to resolve this issue. She has pulled together documents, testimony and studies dating back to 1973 when problems surfaced regarding the West Lake Landfill. She and her staff have been briefed by the Regional EPA, Lambert International Airport, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Attorney General s Office, Republic Services, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Department of Health and Senior Services, the Pattonville Fire District and residents from the area. Congresswoman Wagner believes that the Environmental Protection Agency has been dragging its feet for far too long, and it is past time for them to take action. Her focus, as always, will be on the well-being of the families and businesses in the Bridgeton area.”
Congressman Lacy Clay’s office also did not answer the question, but provided KMOX with a letter Clay sent to to the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Here
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office also failed to answer whether she wants the nuclear waste removed from the West Lake Landfill, but provided copies of two letters — one to the Regional EPA Administrator Karl Brooks: Here
McCaskill’s office also provided a letter she sent to the Regional EPA Administrator Karl Brooks: Here
FIRE COMMANDER’S WARNING:
Earlier this week, Pattonville Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy warned that the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill could threaten the health of residents in the wider St. Louis Metropolitan area — if the underground fire ever reaches the nuclear material and the smoke drifts.
LaVanchy is calling for the removal of nuclear waste from the site, not because of the current fire alone. He says a hot spot in the north landfill near the nuclear material occurred in the past and could happen again — sparking a new fire much closer to the radioactive waste in the future.