Coalition Report

By Ed Smith
Policy Director,
Missouri Coalition
For The Environment

MCE Pushes & Succeeds at Advancing Government Transparency at West Lake Landfill

Government transparency is driven by the public’s right to know. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a vital tool MCE uses to request documents from the federal government related to its activities and our environment. MCE has made several FOIA requests related to the radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund site in St. Louis County over many years, specifically to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We are happy to announce the EPA has released over 17,000 pages of draft reports and correspondence with the financially responsible parties.

There are many exemptions in the law that government agencies use to avoid filling FOIA requests. We are pleased the EPA has released over 17,000 pages of draft reports and correspondence with the financially responsible parties without a protracted legal battle. The draft reports include two versions of the Remedial Investigation and one version of the Feasibility Study. The correspondence gives us insight as to where the EPA and responsible parties agree and disagree and also led to the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources releasing its comments on the draft reports, which added even more transparency to the process.

When finalized, the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study will be the basis for the EPA’s proposed remedy that will be released for public comment.

The EPA’s proposed remedy will call for the radioactive material to be capped and left at the unlined landfill in the Missouri River floodplain forever, partially removed, or fully removed. Following the public comment period, the EPA will release its Record of Decision, which is the final decision and can only be challenged by the financially responsible parties, not the public.

MCE is beginning our work to analyze the 17,000+ pages before the proposed remedy is released. At this time, we agree with the EPA’s National Remedy Review Board finding that, “… it appears feasible to remove more highly contaminated material and significantly reduce long-term risk at the site.” Please consider a donation to MCE to support the additional research and preparation needs for this critical public comment period. To take action, please contact EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (202-564-4700) and tell him the St. Louis region supports removing the radioactive wastes from the unlined landfill that sits in the Missouri River floodplain. Choosing to leave the radioactive wastes at a landfill never designed to contain such toxic material is not an option.

For information visit. www.moenvironment.org.