by Byron DeLear
Many may not realize, but the original name for the Manhattan Project—the secret government initiative during World War II to make to the first atomic weapons—was the “Manhattan Engineering District.” The Army Corps of Engineers have been at the front of the American nuclear-narrative since the beginning, and so has St. Louis. Yesterday, the United States Senate began to reverse an injustice that has been foisted upon north St. Louis County for 43 years by directing the Army Corps of Engineers to take the lead in cleaning-up a huge cache of orphaned, radiotoxic Manhattan Project-nuclear waste lying out in the open at the West Lake Landfill.
The EPA, which had folded the site into its Superfund program in 1990, has done virtually nothing for decades to clean it up; and in many instances, has been shown to minimize and misdirect efforts to call attention to the ongoing health hazard. Like poisoned citizens from Flint, Michigan, the community many years ago lost faith in the agency’s handling of the situation and began calling for transfer to the Army Corps of Engineers ‘FUSRAP’ program, which has the capacity to execute removal of the threatening material; or at the very least, permanent “entombment,” like what had occurred at the Weldon Spring Ordnance Works in St. Charles County, Missouri.