CBS St. Louis
by Brett Blume
On Wednesday, the National Remedy Review Board (NRRB) released findings that were critical of EPA Region 7’s decision to cap off the radioactive wastes, instead of moving ahead with efforts to remove the contaminants from the site.
“The National Remedy Review Board, in a very surprising revelation, also said that removal of at least some of the radioactive waste could be more cost-effective than just capping and leaving all of the radioactive waste,” pointed out Ed Smith, Policy Director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
Smith said the MRRB also found that EPA Region 7 had underestimated the cost and risk of capping-and-leaving the contaminants in its 2008 Record of Decision. It said the available technology exists to safely remove radioactive wastes to limit long-term risks, and community concerns regarding impacts to groundwater are justified.>
“I’m disgusted and I’m beyond livid,” said Dawn Chapman, longtime critic of the EPA’s handling of the West Lake situation and Co-Founder of the group Just Moms STL. “The fact is we’ve been asking for this (information) for three years. This has cost the state of Missouri money, it’s cost St. Louis County money, because there were things in that document that they needed to have that they weren’t given.”
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment was denied access to the NRRB document after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the EPA in March 2014.
The EPA released the NRRB document to the public on its own on Wednesday.
Why was that?
“I’m going to guess that it’s a combination of the threat of being sued over FOIA documents, and I think that honestly it’s pressure, it’s public pressure at this point,” suggested Chapman. “I think it’s validation but I’m going to tell you it’s more than frustrating right now. I personally have wasted so much time away from my children fighting battles and trying to make points that were already made in this letter three years ago.”
Her group Just Moms STL is once again ramping up pressure on local members of Congress to get the West Lake case handed over from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers.
“They (EPA) owe us an apology,” she proclaimed. “I think we’ve lost all faith in them, as a community. I don’t even know that I would allow them to make me a glass of chocolate milk at this point.”