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EPA reaches cleanup decision for radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund site

Kay Drey, Beyond Nuclear board presidentAs reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

After a grassroots campaign that has lasted not years, but decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to announce its Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the West Lake Landfill in metro St. Louis, MO. West Lake Landfill is where Manhattan Project radioactive wastes dating back to the early 1940s were illegally dumped in the early 1970s, and have been leaking out ever since. Beyond Nuclear's board president, Kay Drey, has helped lead that grassroots campaign for decades, including penning a recent op-ed in the Post-Dispatch.

EPA has decided to exhume some 70% of the radioactive waste at the site. How leaving some 30% of the radioactive waste in the floodplain of the Missouri River, upstream of a major metro St. Louis drinking water supply intake, surrounded by residential neighborhoods, is somehow a good idea, is not explained (nor explainable) by EPA.

Also of concern is EPA's indication that it is eyeing sites in Utah, Michigan, Idaho, and Colorado for disposing of the "cleanup." This is another example of "cleanup" simply meaning "transfer" or "re-location" of hazardous radioactive wastes. Don't Waste Michigan, for one -- on whose board of directors Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps has long served -- has fought hard since the 1980s to prevent Michigan from becoming a radioactive waste dumping ground for other states.