EPA Head Says Final West Lake Cleanup Plan Could Mean More Aggressive Removal of Material

By on March 12, 2018

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Monday that he believes he has proposed a “sound, solid” solution to clean up the West Lake Landfill Superfund site — but that a final decision could include excavating more than the 67 percent of the site the EPA says will be sufficient to protect the health of neighboring residents.

“What is really exciting about St. Louis is at this point, in five years the uranium will be removed,” Pruitt said, in reference to the radioactive material left over from World War II’s atomic bomb creation. “Which I think is amazing in light of taking 28 years to just make a decision.”

In a briefing with five reporters, Pruitt touted his first year as administrator, arguing that his agency has sped up dormant decision-making on issues like West Lake, and that it has contributed to billions of dollars in savings to companies from regulatory relief.

He said the EPA would have a final rule on redoing the controversial “Waters of the United States” initiative of former President Barack Obama, which environmentalists heralded as a boon for water quality. Critics, including many Missouri Republicans, attacked it as government overreach.

Pruitt’s stormy first year on the job was marked in part by his decision on West Lake. He called it a “poster child” of previous administrations’ inability to clean up the 1,340 Superfund sites he said he inherited.

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