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I received two e-mails that epitomize the difference between Russ Carnahan and Ed Martin.

The first was a press release from Carnahan’s office:

Yet another Social Security privatization group is lining up behind Ed Martin in thanks for his support to eliminate this critical safety net for Missouri seniors.  The 60 Plus Association, a national group known for promoting risky Social Security privatization schemes, has just begun spending significant campaign cash to elect a sure vote for their extreme agenda: Ed Martin.

You can bet your booty that Russ Carnahan won’t abandon Social Security. He’s the other kind of politician, the kind who will actually work to protect us–who will, for example, take time out from fending off Ed Martin’s lunacy to deal with an environmental issue that concerns the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of St. Louisans. He has jumped into the fray about West Lake Landfill.

The backstory on that landfill is that Kay Drey, who has been an activist about nuclear waste issues for decades, has, for two and a half years now, been kicking up a fuss over the decision by Region 7 of the EPA in Kansas City. The last director there ruled that it would be sufficient to cover up–oh, pardon me, I meant to say cover over a landfill site full of extremely hot radiation.

I don’t know strontium this from thorium that from polonium the other. But people who do, tell me that the nuclear waste that Mallinckrodt Chemical Works illegally dumped at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton in 1973 is the kind you don’t want to put on a floodplain. Eight miles upstream from the water treatment plant for all of North St. Louis County. With no liner or cap. And a levee that’s no higher than the one that the flood of ’93 breached in Chesterfield.

Rea Beck, working with Drey, tells me that:

Mayors of nearby cities and the St. Louis County Council have urged the original decision be overturned and a better solution be found. The Missouri Division of Natural Resources Director, Mark Templeton, weighed in with Region 7 (which has a new Director) and asked them to reconsider the original decision. So far, except for the reconsideration, no action has been accomplished. I recently talked with Rep. Russ Carnahan and he has graciously sent the following letter to the EPA in Washington DC.

The Honorable Lisa Jackson

Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Ariel Rios Building

1200 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.

Washington,D.C.2001

Oct.8th,2010

Dear Administrator,

I’m writing to discuss the radiologically contaminated West Lake Landfill Site,Operable Unit 1, located in Bridgeton,Mo.(CERCLIS ID Number: MODO79900932). As you know,this landfill became RADIOLOGICALLY CONTAMINATED IN 1973 WHEN SOILS MIXED WITH URANIUM ORE PROCESSING were USED AS DAILY cover in a Landfilling operation. While this Landfill is not in my District,it does sit on the Eastern edge of the Missouri River flood plain and could potentially affect my District and the drinking water of St.Louis area residents.

While I understand a Record of decision for Operable Unit 1 was signed in May 2008, I would like to ask for answers to the following questions,

1. The selected remedy calls for installation of an engendered landfill cover and implementation of a long term monitoring program. In light of the location being in the Missouri River floodplain, what effect would a levee failure have on this location?

2. The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has cleaned up a number of radiologically contaminated locations in the area. What reasons does EPA have for not transferring control of this site from the EPA to the Corps in order to remediate the contaminated waste?

3. Does EPA consider consider this location to be permanent or temporary storage for this radioactive waste?

4. Even if there is a cap to stop water from entering the fill, what is there to stop the radioactive particulate from seeping into groundwater, given that there is no protective layering below the fill?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter . Should you have any questions,please do not hesitate to contact me directly or Ken Reidy at (202)-225-2671 or Ken.reidy@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely

Russ Carnahan

Member of Congress

“Member of Congress” indeed. Someone who will ask those pertinent questions, that’s the kind of person we need as a member of Congress. Can you even imagine Ed Martin caring about something like safe drinking water? He’d find a way to turn such concern into a socialist plot.