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Chemicals Reduce Childrens IQs

If you are interested in how many small amounts of chemicals can directly impact children’s IQ you need to spend a few minutes watching this video. CHEJ’s members have been frustrated by the regulatory agencies and their lack of willingness to address multiple chemical exposures. Most recently the Just Moms group in St. Louis, MO were told that a leader’s family has levels of radiation in their kitchen 200 times above background. How in the world do  you make Thanksgiving dinner in a kitchen full of radiation? Moreover, how can you have a family dinner when no one wants to come to your house? Along with the radiation are toxic chemicals that come from the burning landfill daily. EPA says they need to do more testing. How much evidence does the agency need before they move the people?
Karen Nickel with Just Moms STL says, “Allowing people to live inside of homes that are contaminated with the world’s oldest nuclear weapons waste is unacceptable and extremely irresponsible. For over five years, the community has endured breathing in toxic fumes from the underground fire at the landfill and there’s no clear end in sight. The Missouri Attorney General indicates a Chernobyl-like event could occur if/when the underground fire collides with the Manhattan Project waste. The schools in the area are on alert for a shelter-in-place event and have asked parents to stock-pile their children’s medication at school in the event they cannot be released. There is a higher than normal incidence of brain cancer in children under 17 in areas around the West Lake Landfill. Families are sick with bloody noses, asthma, and other respiratory illness and often keep children indoors because the toxic odors are so bad.”

Just Moms STL is calling on EPA Federal Administrator Gina McCarthy to use her power under CERCLA and Governor Jay Nixon to relocate families today.

Backyard Talk

New EPA Document’s release details what agency knew about West Lake for Three years

The EPA’s National Remedy and Review Board released a document last Thursday that called removal of toxic waste at West Lake Landfill “feasible.” It gave a summary of its recommendations for the area, many of which were in direct opposition to what the EPA has been saying about the site for years. Just Moms STL, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, and other groups have requested the document over the past three years under the Freedom of Information Act, but the EPA has denied them the document.
Now, as the document is released, it’s more clear why the EPA was so resistant to these groups seeing it in the first place. Since 2008, the EPA’s plan has been to put a cap on the site, containing the waste but not providing a long-term solution. The EPA and landfill owner Republic Services had cited that the cap would cost ten times less than removing the waste, and that the waste couldn’t be removed safely for workers or the community. The report, however, completely discredits those statements. It says that removal would be safe for workers and provide a long-term solution for the community, and that EPA region 7 overestimated the costs of removal on several fronts.
Just Moms STL have been advocating for removal for years. They recognized that a safe and permanent solution was the best way to protect the community now and in the long-term, especially given the history of the area. Some of the victims of West Lake are former victims of Coldwater creek, a nearby nuclear toxic dump site. Now that the National Review Board document has been released saying that removal is feasible after all, the community is angry. They should have had this information years ago.
If the EPA has known for three years that removal of the waste is the best option, why haven’t they done anything to start that process? It’s time for the EPA to recognize their failure on West Lake, and to abandon the plan to cap the landfill.

Backyard Talk

West Lake Landfill has to be a St. Louis issue, not just a Bridgeton issue

westlake blows everywhere

The two smoldering landfills in Bridgeton, Missouri have forced the community around them to take action. Just Moms STL, a group headed by area moms Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman, has executed steps from community phone calls to representatives to meeting with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to discuss relocation. The group and the problem have attracted national attention, and yet the Bridgeton and West Lake Landfills seems to remain a Bridgeton issue in the eyes of many St. Louisans—not a St. Louis issue. This has to change.
It’s easy for the issue to remain localized for several reasons. First, St. Louisans can dismiss the landfills as a problem only for those who live near them. Since most St. Louis residents aren’t currently experiencing the health effects or odor of the landfills, they don’t have the constant reminder of the danger there. Last fall, St. Louis County released emergency evacuation plans, and rumors flew about the possibility of radioactive waste being spread by wind throughout the whole of St. Louis. But after these scares died down, most of St. Louis put West Lake on the back burner.
Bridgeton residents continue to push forward on the issue, and the rest of St. Louis needs to do the same. The question of unity continues to dog the city, as it has for so many things. The Greater St. Louis area is separated into St. Louis City and St. Louis County, a divide that hurts both sides. The county is further divided into municipalities, which have their own semi-independent jurisdiction. The problems in this division and hierarchy were demonstrated, for example, during the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014. Ferguson as a municipality, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City were all at odds for authority, and they, especially in regards to their separate police, failed to coordinate.
In that case, however, St. Louis residents did recognize that Black Lives Matter was not just a Ferguson issue—it was a city-wide, nation-wide issue. The movement was not limited to Ferguson, and actions occurred across the city and county. The same needs to happen for the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills. Republic dumpsters are in every other alley in St. Louis city. Republic has sites not only in Bridgeton, but in Cahokia, South County, and North City. St. Louis residents have to realize that the landfills are an issue for the whole of St. Louis and rally around leaders like Just Moms STL.

Media Releases

EPA Administrator Meets with Just Moms STL, Says She Will Investigate Relocation Option

EPA Administrator Meets with Just Moms STL, Says She Will Investigate Relocation Option
March 30, 2016
Immediate Release
Karen Nickel 314- 229-4896
Dawn Chapman 314-566-9762
Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman, Co-Founders of Just Moms STL met with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy this afternoon to discuss relocation of the families who live near the burning Bridgeton Superfund site.
Both women explained the dire and urgent need for families to have the option to leave the area with their homes purchased. They stated that the fire is closer than anticipated and is frightening local families.  They are concerned about what will happen if the fire reaches the Manhattan Project radioactive wastes. St. Louis county officials are preparing to assist residents and schools to shelter in place in the event of a nuclear plume.  Local schools have sent letters to parents, asking them to provide extra doses of medication that students need on a daily basis.
The spokespeople for Just Moms STL explained that under the Superfund Authority Administrator McCarthy has the authority to move families immediately. Just Moms pleaded with her to begin by moving Spanish Village closest to the site, the mobile home park and then downwind.

“Administrator McCarthy said she is going to see how the EPA might be able to relocate people near the smoldering and radioactive landfill,” said Karen Nickel, co-founder of Just Moms STL. “We hope that Administrator McCarthy will move people immediately.”
 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new report on the extent of radioactive wastes at the smoldering West Lake Landfill in St. Louis County. The report shows the newly discovered radioactivity is closer to the ongoing smoldering fire than previously known. The EPA has so far refused, for over one year, requests by local residents to test the entire North Quarry as a grid for radioactivity.
Attorney General Koster has publicly supported the federal, bipartisan legislation that will put the Army Corps of Engineers’ specialized nuclear waste cleanup program in charge at the West Lake Landfill. The Corps’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) is currently in charge of all the ongoing radioactive cleanup sites in the metro St. Louis area.
Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman of Just Moms also had a meeting with the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which advises President Obama on environmental policy and helps steer his environmental priorities.  Nickel and Chapman pressed on the need for immediate action.

Lois Gibbs of the Center for Health Environment and Justice, Ed Smith of Missouri Coalition on the Environment and Chuck Stiles, the Assistant Director of the Teamsters Union Solid Waste & Recycling Division were also in the CEQ meeting. Along with supporting the need to relocate families exposed to toxins, Mr. Stiles raise labor aspects to this crisis that are yet unaddressed.

News Archive

Bridgeton moms group to picket, demand meeting with EPA over radioactive West Lake Landfill

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Co-founder of Just Moms STL Karen Nickel (at podium) said her group has the support of Missouri's U.S. Senate representatives in their efforts to meet with the EPA.
Co-founder of Just Moms STL Karen Nickel (at podium) said her group has the support of Missouri’s U.S. Senate representatives in their efforts to meet with the EPA.

An activist group of St. Louis area moms concerned about underground smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill plans to picket outside the Environmental Protection Agency’s Washington, D.C. offices on Wednesday.
Members of Just Moms STL went to the nation’s capital this week in another attempt to get a meeting with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The group said it hoped to discuss the proximity of the subsurface fire to the nearby radioactive West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, where World War II-era nuclear waste is stored. Residents have worried for years about what could happen if the fire reached the nearby radioactive waste.
But, despite an onslaught of calls to the agency’s scheduling department, group co-founder Karen Nickel said its latest effort Tuesday was met with silence. She said the group has tried for two years to secure face-time with McCarthy.
“We are scared, we live in fear, we are prisoners in our own homes. We are afraid to let our children outside to play,” she said. “This is unacceptable. We live in the United States of America and in mid-Missouri, we are preparing for a Chernobyl-like event.”
The EPA previously said it plans to build a fire break to prevent the smoldering from reaching the waste, and it is also testing and studying what would happen if it does.
Just Moms STL’s trip to D.C. comes shortly after the U.S. Senate passed a bill to put the Army Corps of Engineers in charge of West Lake Landfill, instead of the EPA; many residents had called for such a change because they felt the EPA is taken too long to implement remediation. Group representatives met Tuesday with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Republican Senator Roy Blunt.
But Russ Knocke, spokesman for landfill owner Republic Services, said the moms group’s efforts amount to a distraction.
“This sort of stunt, along with current attempts to move the site into the (Army Corps’) FUSRAP program, only serve to delay the fix for the site,” he said in a written statement. “The EPA should be allowed to finish its work, quickly.”
But Nickel said Just Moms STL wants to plead for the EPA to use its authority in overseeing the Superfund site to evacuate residents. She said many residents are also alarmed about the strong odors produced by the subsurface fire and health problems they have experienced.
“It’s hard to breathe, we have asthma, we have bloody noses, rashes,” Nickel said. “Our children are suffering from headaches.”
The EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources both previously reported studies found no human health risks from air pollution from the site. Similarly, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) also stated that while it found higher radon levels in the air around the radioactive West Lake Landfill site, it posed no risk to human health.
But the St. Louis County health department announced Monday that in two weeks it will start a health survey of any respiratory symptoms experienced by residents living within two miles of the Superfund site.
Nickel said her group also wants the EPA to order a property assurance plan to buy out homes around the landfill at fair market value for residents who want to leave. The EPA did not immediately return a request for comment.
While in D.C., the organization is teaming up with Water You Fight For, a group made of residents affected by the water crisis in Flint, Mich. Nickel said the EPA turned “a blind eye on the children of Flint,” and it is now doing the same in St. Louis.
“Their community suffered through silence from the EPA just like we are here in Bridgeton, and I think it’s time for the moms of Flint and the moms of St. Louis to make a pact and stay strong to fight for our children,” she said.
Despite the unsuccessful attempts to get a meeting and no guarantees for the future, Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment is supporting the moms and their push.
“Gina is in Washington, D.C. and not St. Louis, so we have to go there to let her know that we want that meeting,” he said.
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Media Releases

Worried Moms from Flint and St. Louis To Blast EPA



Lois Gibbs 703-627-9483,,

New Internal EPA Memo & Policy Stresses Public Health

Worried Moms from Flint, Love Canal & St. Louis Decry Agency’s “Failure”

“Kids are suffering from leaded water & threatened by toxic fires”

WHAT:           Press conference featuring Missouri and Michigan moms

WHEN:          Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST)

LOCATION:  National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045 and by phone:  Dial In:   641-715-3580  PIN:  808-997

WHO: Dawn Chapman, co-founder, Just Moms STL, Karen Nickel, co-founder, Just Moms STL, Melissa Mays, Water You Fight For (by phone from Flint, MI), Lois Gibbs, Founder, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, Ed Smith, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Gail Thackery, Franciscan Sisters of Mary

Details:  A coalition of moms from Michigan and Missouri will hold a press conference to address EPA’s failure to act on what they say are serious threats to public health in both communities.
Flint, Michigan is reeling from ongoing lead and toxic chemicals in its drinking water. EPA senior managers reacted to alarms sounded by its own staff by downplaying the risks and hiding the warnings about the lead levels from the public, according to local activists.
In Bridgeton, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis), families live near a radioactive Superfund landfill with an underground fire that is threatening to move toward the illegally dumped nuclear wastes from the Manhattan Project. The nuclear wastes are adjacent to an underground fire at a neighboring landfill. The Bridgeton/West Lake landfill site is owned by the Republic Services waste corporation, and activists say that workers there have no protection from either the radioactive wastes or the toxic emissions emitted by the landfill and chronic long term exposure is unknown.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has refused for over two years to meet with the Just Moms St. Louis community group.  She has released a new formal policy on “substantial health risks”.
At the press conference, leaders from both the Just Moms St. Louis and the Flint-based Water You Fighting For community groups will discuss the environmental and public health catastrophes in both communities, and EPA’s responses to date. They will also ask EPA Administrator McCarthy to meet with the Just Moms St. Louis members who traveled here to request that the EPA act on its authority under the Superfund Act to move families away from the landfill, as the agency has done previously with Love Canal and other communities.

Media Releases

“Just Moms STL” activist group visits state offices, demand action on West Lake

“Just Moms STL” activist group visits state offices, demand action on West Lake
“Be Superhero for Superfund” Local Group will urge Congressional Reps 
Will give cupcakes, toot birthday horns to celebrate 35th anniversary of Superfund on Dec 11th
WHAT: The St. Louis based activist group “Just Moms STL” will give cupcakes Congressman Clay, Congresswoman Wagner, Senator Blunt, and Senator McCaskill wearing birthday hats and tooting birthday horns.  They will also thank the representatives for the work they have done on the West Lake Landfill, including the recent introduction of a bi-partisan bill to move West Lake from EPA to Army Corp of Engineers.  They will urge the reinstatement of the “Polluter Pays” Fee and the passage of the West Lake bill.
WHEN: Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 10 AM – 12 PM
1) 10:00 am Office of Representative Wagner301 Sovereign Court, Suite 201, Ballwin, MO
2) 10:30 am Office of Senator Roy Blunt—7700 Bonhomme, #315 Clayton, MO
3) 11:00 am Office of Senator Claire McCaskill—5850 Delmar Blvd, Ste. A St. Louis, MO
4) 11:45 am Office of Congressman William “Lacy” Clay— 6830 Gravois St. Louis, MO
Details:  The theme of the action is Superheroes with the tagline “Make Superfund Super Again!” The action will celebrate the 35th birthday of the Superfund Law on Friday Dec. 11th.

Media Releases

Veteran St. Louis Activist Threatens to Sue EPA

Veteran St. Louis Activist Threatens to Sue EPA 
Our group and others are filing a legal notice with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today demanding immediate action to stop oil and gas companies from dumping drilling and fracking waste in ways that threaten public health and the environment. We’ll like file a federal lawsuit in 60 days.
Statement of Laura Barrett of St. Louis, Executive Director, Center for Health, Environment and Justice
“Our group, CHEJ, and others are filing a legal notice today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency demanding immediate action to stop oil and gas companies from dumping drilling and fracking waste in ways that threaten public health and the environment. We’ll likely file a federal lawsuit in 60 days.
The oil and gas industry is growing by leaps and bounds.  EPA must do its job and update and enforce these vital regulations. Our water and air are threatened by toxic waste from the improper storage of fracking wastes while corporate polluters are allowed to run wild. Homes, small businesses, and low income and indigenous communities are being laid to waste by an industry that is virtually unregulated.”
More information is available here.