EPA accused of downplaying West Lake Landfill waste
BRIDGETON, Mo. - A former Environmental Protection Agency insider says EPA officials interfered with decisions about what to do with the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton.
People living near the landfill say the report is raising serious questions about possible cover-ups in the agency. For years people have trusted the EPA's National Remedy Review Board to remain independent and make the best decisions for their community. But an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal has shattered that trust.
A 2008 decision by the EPA to leave the radioactive waste buried at West Lake was challenged by members of the review board. Some suggested moving the waste would be a better idea. But a former board member told the Wall Street Journal EPA officials pressured challengers to "soften their recommendations" and "remove" information that raised questions about the decision.
People who have been fighting to get West Lake cleaned up say the report casts a shadow of doubt on every decision the EPA makes.
"The integrity of the EPA on the Washington level, not state-wide, not region-wide, the federal in Washington, D.C. is being called into question," said Dawn Chapman, a landfill watchdog.
Chapman is renewing her call for control of the landfill to be transferred from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps is currently working to clean up other St. Louis-area locations contaminated by radioactive waste.
Below is EPA's response to the Wall Street Journal's article. EPA has no information to support the assertions of this piece.
"EPA headquarters and regional representatives regularly participate in meetings of the National Remedy Review Board (NRRB). Collaboration between Superfund experts across the country helps inform effective decision-making.
"It's important to note that conditions in the Bridgeton community remain protective of human health. EPA and its partners are committed to ensuring that the community is protected from the nuclear waste that was dumped illegally at West Lake four decades ago."