February 02, 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) today applauded Senate passage of their bill, S. 2306, to transfer remediation authority over the West Lake landfill from the Environmental Protection Agency to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, putting the site in the Corps’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). Missouri Representatives Wm. Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner have introduced companion legislation in the House.
“The families living near the West Lake landfill have made clear that they are fed up with the EPA’s long delay in implementing a plan to clean up the site,” Blunt said. “The EPA has lost credibility within the community, and left parents living in fear for their children’s health and safety. That is completely unacceptable. The Senate has taken an important step by voting to give the Corps the authority to utilize its knowledge and expertise on clean-up efforts, which I hope will begin to give families the peace of mind they deserve.”
The bill passed today would not alter the current liability of potentially responsible parties at the site nor its designation as a Superfund site.
McCaskill added, “With the passage of this legislation today the Senate has demonstrated that that voices of the community around West Lake Landfill are being heard. This plan isn’t a silver bullet, and will take far longer than we’d like to resolve these issues—but it’s a concrete, positive step forward. Now it’s up to the U.S. House to take up this issue so that we can get the legislation across the finish line.”
This measure represents the latest step in the delegation’s effort to utilize the Corps’ remediation expertise at the West Lake site. In July of last year, Blunt, McCaskill, Wagner, and Clay sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking the Department of Energy to re-evaluate whether West Lake qualified for inclusion in the Corps’ FUSRAP in light of new information regarding the source of radioactive waste at the site.
On February 28, 2014, they also sent a letter to the EPA asking the agency to contract directly with the Corps to handle remediation efforts through FUSRAP, citing the Corps’ “expertise in this area, and the local community’s faith in the Corps’ FUSRAP mission.” In March of 2014, the agencies announced an agreement to work together to build a fire break at the West Lake landfill.