Friday, January 18, 2013

Hundreds to EPA: Stop Republic's nuclear fires in Missouri

Last night in Bridgeton, Mo. A big Teamster turnout.
Teamsters and Bridgeton, Mo., residents demanded last night that Republic Services safely remove its radioactive waste from an underground fire in a landfill it operates. More than 300 people spoke out against the against the dangerous situation at an EPA hearing in Bridgeton.

Republic Services' majority shareholder is Bill Gates, who claims, though his foundation, that he wants to improve global health.

KMOX News reports,
Residents and environmentalists claim the Environmental Protection Agency is taking a cap-it-and-cross-your-fingers approach to radioactive waste at Bridgeton’s West Lake Landfill. 
And even worse, while the agency squabbled Thursday night with the public over whether covering the waste is enough or not, that waste has been allowed to sit wide-open for years and years. 
Janelle Wright says there are consequences: 
“I have been witness to a lot of friends in caskets recently. Around our 20 year class reunion people started getting cancer at an alarming rate and dying. Horrible cancers, one in a million cancers.”
In fact, she says she’s compiled a list of 700 cases of rare cancers in the area around the landfill.
And this is rich: EPA officials said they'd tested the groundwater under the landfill and found no signs of seepage. The crowd shouted back, "We're in a drought!"

According to a statement, the hearing was attended by more than 300 people from the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Missouri Jobs with Justice, and the Teamsters Union.

The statement explains:
The site, located in the Missouri River floodplain, is home to radioactive wastes dumped there in 1973 following secret uranium processing in downtown St. Louis. In late October 2012, residents around the landfill began complaining of foul odors and burning eyes—and the Pattonville Fire Department expressed alarm at rising underground temperatures and the danger that the developing underground landfill fire could migrate toward the buried nuclear waste sites... 
“We have members who live near and around the landfill. We also have members who work on the site, and we believe that the nonunion workers who work under Republic’s thumb deserve protection as well. The fire on its own is a big problem. What if the landfill fire were to reach the radioactive waste?” said Marv Kropp, President of Teamsters Joint Council 13. 
“Landfill fires can burn on for years and expand—just look at what happened to Republic’s landfill in Centerville, Ohio—a fire that raged for years until state officials and the EPA finally stepped up and forced real action on the part of the company,” Kropp added.
Perhaps Mr. Gates could put in a call to the EPA. Maybe they'd listen to him.