UPDATE: Legislation to transfer oversight of Missouri's West Lake Landfill from the EPA to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently sitting in a D.C. House subcommittee, waiting on a hearing.
"There are people in D.C. that hold our community, and the lives of our children—they’re holding them hostage right now by pausing on this bill," said Dawn Chapman, a resident and organizer for Just Moms STL, to St. Louis Public Radio. "What we’re looking for is a second opinion, and we’re looking for an unbiased opinion."
However there are still concerns regarding if the bill will actually lead to a faster cleanup, or if passing the bill without a hearing would cause the process to be rushed. Another point of consideration will be determining funding for the cleanup project.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has offered pushback on passing the bill, according to St. Louis Public Radio. Republic Services, who owns both the West Lake Landfill and Bridgeton Landfill, has also expressed concerns.
"Attempts to move the site into the FUSRAP program only serve to delay the fix for the West Lake site. The EPA should be allowed to finish its work, quickly," wrote Republic’s spokesperson Russ Knocke in a statement.
Waste Dive will continue to report on this story as it develops.
Pending legislation may transfer oversight of the nuclear waste-containing West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, MO from the Environmental Protection Agency to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The law to address the landfill with its smoldering fire 1,200 feet from Bridgeton Landfill, would next need to pass in the House.
Republic Services, which owns both landfills said the proposed law could further delay cleanup. The EPA has committed to a remediation plan by the end of the year.
The Senate bill was co-sponsored by Missouri Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill. The Missouri Coalition for the Environment will lobby in Washington next week for final passage of the measure in the House.
Republic is standing firm that transferring jurisdiction to the Army Corps would be a mistake, citing two issues.One, where granting remediation authority to the Corps of Engineers resulted in a decade-long timeframe to complete a Norton, MA landfill project. And they referenced a landfill in Armstrong County, PA, slated to begin in 2017— 15 years after the Corps received remediation authority.
"Costs shifted from private parties to the taxpayer, and the government has recouped just pennies on the dollar," Republic Services spokesman Russ Knocke said.
Late last year, the The EPA took some measures but not enough to resolve the problem and the bills’ co-sponsor, Missouri Republican Roy Blunt, said residents who live near the landfill have made clear that they are fed up with the agency's long delay.