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After months of requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take the lead in resolving the issues surrounding two landfills in Bridgeton, it looks as though local residents will get at least part of what they've been demanding. EPA officials announced Friday that the Corps of Engineers will help construct an isolation barrier between an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill and radioactive materials in the adjacent West Lake Landfill.
Last week, Attorney General Chris Koster had urged the EPA to move quickly on the barrier.
The radioactive waste was dumped illegally in North County about 40 years ago. Environmental groups and residents have been calling for the Army Corps to take over the cleanup. Those calls became more urgent in recent months as the risk of the fire spreading became known.
New air and water tests showed no health risk from the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. That was the message from the EPA to the big – and sometimes rowdy – crowd Tuesday night at Pattonville High School.
Residents say they are concerned that the underground fire burning at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill could spread to radioactive waste buried in the 1970s at the West Lake facility. About 650 came to Tuesday night's meeting, many demanding immediate action.
But EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says preliminary studies show there is time to study the situation before making a decision. "That event over there on the Bridgeton side does not threaten the West Lake Landfill," Brooks said. "It gives us time to assess the science, take a look at the engineering and make good choices about it."
Some residents want the radioactive materials removed. Others favor a buyout.
Brooks says all options are on the table, but nothing will happen right away.
The St. Louis Cardinals make it a habit to honor others before many of the team's home games. But Monday night, it was the baseball franchise that was honored.
The Environmental Protection Agency recognized the team with a plaque for their leadership in food recovery and recycling.
By composting leftovers, like old hot dogs, and donating unused, uncooked food to food pantries, the team has kept 2000 tons of waste out of landfills. According to the EPA, that’s far and away the best of any pro sports franchise.
Blunt and Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed disappointment on Monday that the EPA and two other agencies missed a self-imposed March 15 deadline to establish a plan to move forward with the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project.
Construction to close a 1,500-foot gap in the levee was halted in 2007 due to technical problems with the project's Environmental Impact Statement.
Obama announced his choice of Gina McCarthy as EPA chief earlier this month. Blunt says he'll use a parliamentary procedure known as a hold to block the nomination until the levee issue is resolved.