Burning Bridgeton Landfill Moms Go To Washington, 02/08/2016

CBS – St. Louis
by Kevin Killeen

Just Moms STL leaders Dawn Chapman and Karen Nichols during protest in St. Louis in fall of 2015. The group now headed to Washington to seek help from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)
Just Moms STL leaders Dawn Chapman and Karen Nichols during protest in St. Louis in fall of 2015. The group now headed to Washington to seek help from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) – A group of local moms who believe their children are suffering health problems from a landfill fire plead for help from the head of the EPA.

“Our children are suffering from nose bleeds, and fatigue, and hair loss and asthma and breathing problems,” said organizer Karen Nichols of the group Just Moms STL.

Nichols said the group hopes to meet with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to spur her to immediate action for those living in the vicinity of the Bridgeton Landfill, a garbage dump smoldering underground since 2010 that sits adjacent to the West Lake Landfill nuclear waste site where debris was dumped from the Manhattan Project.

“Gina McCarthy has turned a deaf ear on the community of West Lake, the Bridgeton West Lake Landfill Superfund site,” Nichols said, “and moms want to be able to go in and sit down and have a conversation with her.”

Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill Photo: KMOX/Kevin Killeen

Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill Photo: KMOX/Kevin Killeen

Nichols said the Just Moms STL group wants McCarthy to authorize the voluntary relocation of residents living within a mile of the landfill, and to protect their property values through the “property assurance plan.”

The grassroots group has gained some momentum in recent days, after the U.S. Senate passed a bill on their behalf authorizing the oversight of the landfill to be transferred from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers, which the group believes would be more responsive than the EPA to clean up the nuclear waste.

An identical bill sponsored by U.S. Congressman Lacy Clay and U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner of Missouri is now before the House.

While in D.C., the Just Moms STL group plans to meet with representatives of Clay and Wagner. They have also planned a phone conference with a group of moms from Flint, Michigan – where the EPA has come under fire for its handling of the lead-tainted water crisis.

A news conference is planned for 10 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington.

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