by Melanie Moon
BRIDGETON, MO (KTVI) – Residents who live near West Lake Landfill are celebrating a huge decision by the U.S. Senate. Tuesday the senate transferred authority of West Lake from the EPA to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its cleanup program.
Families living near the landfill have long expressed frustration over the delay to clean up the site. One Bridgeton mother says she will sleep easier tonight.
Dawn Chapman/Bridgeton mom: “It’s been a lot of tears, a lot of cheers and but at the same time I have to wake up in the morning and hit the ground running. We are going to Washington next week and we have to figure out what we are going to do with this fire. It’s going to burn for another 10 years we have to keep the 2 from meeting and we have to make sure this legislation is locked down”.
The troubles date back to the Manhattan Project when nuclear waste from that program was dumped into the landfill in 1973.
Senate passage is only one step. The House of Representatives still has to vote on corresponding legislation, which would then have to be reconciled if different than the Senate bill, before then going to the President’s desk.
The legislation is opposed by the land fill’s owner, Republic Services. “Talk to people in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. The last time Congress tried this, remediation work took more than a decade. Costs shifted from private parties to the taxpayer, and the government has recouped just pennies on the dollar,” said Russ Knocke, a Republic Vice President in a prepared statement.