Just Moms STL Blasts Inaction On Radioactive Landfill After Years Of Promises To Clean Up St Louis Atomic Legacy

West Lake Landfill

By Don Corrigan

Co-Founder of Just Moms STL Dawn Chapman is expressing anger that there is no clear schedule to clean up radioactive waste in a Bridgeton landfill. She is joined by state lawmakers who are tired of years of the EPA dragging its feet.

The landfill could be releasing radioactive pollution due to an underground fire in the area landfill. Environmental experts fear that if the fire mixes with the contamination, North County residents could face more woes and possible evacuation.

The radioactive waste was generated in St. Louis when weapons-grade uranium was refined for use in the top-secret Manhattan project. St. Louis is increasingly known around the country as “Atomic City” for its problems from careless procedures used in producing the first atomic bomb.

Radioactive byproducts from producing yellow cake for bombs was shipped away from riverfront operations in open trucks. It was simply dumped haphazardly in sites around North St. Louis County.

Just Moms STL launched the campaign for the long overdue cleanup in 2013. In 2019, the EPA agreed to remediate the site after Chapman, Karen Nichol and their group campaigned to protect their community from radiation placed in the landfill nearly 50 years ago.

Chapman recently aired the residents’ frustration on local media outlets and with environmental organizations. During an interview with Breaking Green interview, Chapman discussed unusually high incidents of sickness and death in her community.

Chapman said they have been advised to be prepared to shelter in place if the underground fire reaches dense regions of radioactivity. Chapman said St. Louis County residents do not need advisories, but the promised cleanup of the dangerous waste.

Chapman told Breaking Green that the group was traveling to Lexana, Kansas, to the EPA’s Region Seven Office, to demand answers.

“We are going in hot,” said Dawn Chapman.The interview may be heard on Breaking Green, a podcast by Global Justice Ecology Project.

Breaking Green is a podcast produce by Global Justice Ecology Project. It started in 2021 and releases shows on a monthly basis. Its podcasts are focused on interviews with local activists and campaigners as well as academics and experts about issues central to social, ecological and economic injustice.

Breaking Green also examines solutions to climate change that are being promoted as green. A report this week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s premier climate research body, noted that “the extent and magnitude of climate change impacts are larger” than past U.N. assessments.

The report underlines what millions of people already know from dramatic shifts in weather patterns: Ways of life that sustained generations are coming to an abrupt and chaotic end. Extreme weather is causing havoc.

According to the report, climate change is causing billions of dollars in damages and great suffering for people across the world. However, government responses have proven woefully inadequate.

For information on Breaking Green and the Global Justice Ecology Project contact Steve Taylor at steve@globaljusticeecology.org

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