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EPA holds listening session on West Lake Landfill

Meagan Beckermann of Spanish Lake talks about the recent miscarriage of her daughter and about her eight-year-old son, Trevor, who has alopecia, as she speaks at an EPA public listening session in October. 

WASHINGTON • The West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, which contains nuclear waste from the World War II effort to build the atomic bomb, is one of 21 toxic-waste sites President Donald Trump’s administration has now targeted for “immediate, intense action.”

The Environmental Protection Agency released the list late Friday, a day after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a House of Representatives subcommittee that he would announce a recommendation on a cleanup plan at West Lake sometime in January.

It’s part of what Pruitt described as an effort to spur action on “Superfund” toxic waste sites that have languished on the list for many years. West Lake has been on the list since 1990.

“In developing this initial list, EPA considered sites that can benefit from Administrator Pruitt’s direct engagement and have identifiable actions to protect human health and the environment,” the EPA said in announcing the new list.

“These are sites requiring timely resolution of specific issues to expedite cleanup and redevelopment efforts. The list is designed to spur action at sites where opportunities exist to act quickly and comprehensively. The administrator will receive regular updates on each of these sites.”

Neighbors have long complained that the site is causing health problems in people who live nearby.

Pruitt’s promise, made to Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, came after the administration of then-President Barack Obama failed to meet a promised deadline of the end of 2016 to come up with a plan to clean up West Lake.

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