West Lake Landfill Moms Meet with Head of EPA, 03/30/2016

CBS St. Louis
by Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Members of the West Lake Landfill Moms group meet with the head of the EPA in Washington, D.C., calling for a buyout of homes near the landfill, and transfer of the site from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers.

In a phone interview afterwards, Dawn Chapman of Just Moms described the meeting with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy as positive and constructive.

“It was really emotional talking to her, sitting in front of a Presidential appointee who can with the snap of her finger change so many people’s lives,” Chapman said.>

Chapman says McCarthy made no promises about supporting federal buyouts for homeowners close to the landfill, but indicated she would evaluate the request.

The other action item sought–transfer of the West Lake Landfill to the Army Corps of Engineers–remains stalled in a House committee, after the plan passed the Senate.

Bridgeton landfill, West Lake landfill in distance. Taken Oct. 2015 (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

Bridgeton landfill, West Lake landfill in distance. Taken Oct. 2015 (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

After the meeting with McCarthy, Chapman says the group, along with a representative of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, met for about an hour with the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Chapman says the discussion centered on widespread frustration over “EPA inaction ” on the site, and the desire to give the site to the Army Corps.

In February, Chapman and other members of the Mom’s group tried unsuccessfully to meet with McCarthy. This first meeting comes after the EPA released new data showing the nuclear waste in Bridgeton may be several hundred feet closer to the fire than previously thought.

“Walking into that meeting, the EPA looked very scared,” Chapman said, “I don’t know if it’s the recent data that was just released showing how close the nuclear waste is to the fire, or the fact that they knew we were meeting with an arm of the White House later.”

Chapman says their rapport with McCarthy was good and they connected as mothers.

“Gina McCarthy admitted to us that this is the most complicated Superfund site in the nation,” Chapman said, “It’s a mess, and there have been mistakes made at this site. Nobody’s even arguing that anymore.”

West Lake Landfill Moms Meet with Head of EPA

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