Coalition Report

By Ed Smith
Coalition For The Environment

2003 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Talks West Lake Landfill

In 1980, Lois Gibbs and her neighbors took Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials captive to gain the attention of then President Jimmy Carter for a complete buyout of their community after discovering it was built on top of a chemical waste dump. And it worked. On October 4th,Gibbs, 2003 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, addressed a crowd of 150 people in Maryland Heights about what she called one of the most dangerous Superfund sites she’s visited, right here in St. Louis County.

The community’s efforts at Love Canal led to the creation of the EPA’s Superfund program, which is tasked with addressing hazardous waste sites and holding polluters responsible for the cleanup. West Lake Landfill is one such site. Lois Gibbs went on to create the Center for Health, Environment, & Justice (CHEJ) to help communities across the country in similar situations like those at Love Canal and West Lake Landfill.

The message from Lois Gibbs was simple: Get involved because no one cares about your situation and well-being more than you. That’s what a group of women have been doing for over a year and through their recent creation of the nonprofit Just Moms STL. These moms are the administrators of the West Lake Landfill Facebook page and hold monthly public meetings to engage, educate, and activate people about the smoldering and radioactive West Lake Landfill. These moms regularly communicate with local, state, and federal agencies as well as elected officials. These moms are moving the ball forward for a more responsible review of the West Lake Landfill by the Army Corps of Engineers. These moms are fulfilling their roles as proactive citizens by holding the government and financially responsible corporations accountable at the West Lake Landfill, which is a hard job and one they did not choose.

Join the Facebook page and attend one of the public meetings held every month at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 513 on the third Thursday at 6pm, hosted by Just Moms STL, Franciscan Sisters of Mary, and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

Visit www.moenviron.org to learn more.
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