Missouri senators passed a bill that would allow a buyout for homes close to two landfills in North St. Louis County.
Sharon Bishop said she is desperate to move. She has lived in her mobile home for the past five years, and said living near the landfills has affected her health.
“I have COPD and when I'm here, it's a lot worse,” Bishop said. “I cough a lot. But, when I go to my daughter's in Webster Groves, I don't cough nearly as bad down there.”
The measure is aimed at homes within a three-mile radius of the Bridgeton Landfill and adjacent West Lake Landfill, where Cold War-era nuclear waste was buried in the 1970s. The buyout would be voluntary. voluntary.
The bill would provide up to $12.5 million, but it’s unclear where the money will come from. As the bill moves through the Missouri House, it is likely the three-mile radius will be reduced, according to Rep. Mark Matthieson.
The Environmental Protection Agency has previously said that despite radioactive waste and an underground fire at Bridgeton Landfill, there's no increased risk for neighboring residents. The agency also has not found evidence that radioactive material has migrated beyond the landfill.
Republic Services, which manages the landfills is against the buyout. Russ Knocke, the vice president for communications and public affairs sent the following statement: “Any time science succumbs to fear, the people lose. A buyout would be bad for Bridgeton. Further, the circumstances do not merit it. Federal, state and local authorities all say that there is no risk to public health or safety.”
The bill will move to the Missouri House of Representatives, but hearing date has not been scheduled.