Massive Underground Landfill Fire Nears Radioactive Waste

A massive, smoldering, underground fire at a St. Louis-area landfill is on the verge of coming in contact with radioactive waste dumped decades ago, and no one seems to know how to deal with it.  That’s what I learned during a public forum about the issue Thursday night in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights.

Rather than rehash who said what at the forum, I direct your attention to reports by KSDK reporter Grant Bissell (above) and Leisa Zigman (below) which combine to offer a snapshot of the most-pressing concerns of residents in North St. Louis County.

In short, a massive underground fire — which covers a subterranean area the size of three football fields — at the Bridgeton Landfill is about to come in contact with radioactive waste dumped decades earlier at the adjacent West Lake Landfill.

Why was radioactive waste dumped at the landfill?  Unbeknownst to many area residents, St. Louis was home to Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, a company that was the first to process uranium for use in our nation’s first atomic bombs as part of the World War II-era Manhattan Project.  After running out of space for the radioactive waste from their processing efforts, they began shipping it to other area locations, including the West Lake Landfill.  It remains there today.  On the surface of the Missouri River flood plain.  Exposed to the elements.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste in the St. Louis area.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste in the St. Louis area.

Aside from the long-term public health crisis involving what many residents describe as “cancer clusters” and other deadly affects of long-term radiation exposure, the most-pressing immediate concern is the fact no one on the planet seems to have experience dealing with this dangerous intersection where fire and radioactive waste collide.

As I stated in my most recent post, RADIOACTIVE WASTE CRISIS Like Plot From A Horror Film, I’ll be following the issues in North County closely.  Meanwhile, though I cannot attest to the accuracy of all of the information the websites below contain, I recommend you visit them to learn more about the potential scope of this crisis:

Coldwater Creek, Just the Facts Facebook Page;

Coldwater Creek Facts;

St. Louis Radiation Waste Legacy;

Weldon Spring Facebook Page; and

West Lake Landfill Facebook Page.

UPDATE 1/31/2014 at 7:09 p.m. Central:  Many of the members of the groups above are particularly in seeing the Army Corps of Engineers replace the EPA as the lead agency on cleaning up the radioactive waste sites in St. Louis.  If this news is any indication, I’d say they’re on the right track.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Radioactive Waste Dangers Surface Again in Saint Louis

KSDK-TV’s Leisa Zigman shared a series of investigative reports this week about cancer clusters many believe stem from piles of radioactive waste being dumped in the St. Louis area decades ago.

Zigman’s first report for the NBC affiliate (above) highlighted a cancer cluster map of St. Louis and spotlighted dumping near St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport and toxic runoff into nearby Coldwater Creek.

Her second report (below) focused on the Westlake Landfill, where a reported 8,000 tons of radioactive waste was allowed to be dumped in a flood plain, close to public water sources and without any barriers or other protective measures installed.

Zigman’s reports dovetail nicely with an exclusive story I broke 54 weeks ago about a controversial report about cancer rates among people living in the vicinity of the Department of Energy’s Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo.  The site had been placed on the EPA’s National Priorities List in 1987 because of the potential for groundwater contamination to adversely affect a drinking water well field less than a mile away that served 60,000 users in the area.

Uphill Battle

Click to read reports in my series, “Uphill Battle for Answers.”

Likewise, her reports complement the handful of follow-up efforts I’ve shared in my series, Uphill Battle for Answers.

Among my reports, I predicted that radiation exposure-related lawsuits were on the horizon after attending a meeting in St. Louis during which a gaggle of New York City personal-injury lawyers were hunting for potential clients.

In addition, I reported on how I had reached the conclusion that several Missouri state legislators seemed less interested in cancer dangers affecting people in their districts than they were in passing measures having to do with jumping jacks and butterflies.

Finally, after investigating similarities between the Weldon Spring Site and a “sister” site in Ohio, I used a headline to ask the question, Do Residents Living Near Weldon Spring Site Deserve Compensation for Radiation Exposure?

Now that KSDK-TV has entered the fray by reporting on this topic, I expect more questions — and more reports — will follow.  Stay tuned!

UPDATE 2/7/2013 at 8:38 p.m. Central:  Apparently, a handful of Missouri state legislators — including one mentioned in my post March 26, 2012 — paid attention to the KSDK-TV report and decided to unveil some of what Culture Vigilante Lisa Payne-Naeger calls “Yankee Doodle Legislation” requesting the U.S. Congress transfer authority for the remediation of the West Lake Landfill from the EPA to the Corps of Engineers’ FUSRAP project with the urgent, related request that the wastes be excavated from the Missouri River flood plain and be transported to a licensed radioactive waste facility, away from water and away from people.  It’s a start, I guess.

"Three Days In August" Promotional PhotoBob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, The CLAPPER MEMO, is coming soon was released May 2013.

STORM VIDEO (Update)

Just had a storm, packed with tornadoes, hail and high winds, blow through the St. Louis suburbs. Of course, I filmed it — 30 seconds of thunder and lightning.

UPDATE 4/23/11 at 8:20 a.m. Central: Below is the CNN video showing damage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

UPDATE 4/23/11 at 8:58 a.m. Central: Below is the KSDK-TV video showing damage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

UPDATE 4/24/11 at 7:15 p.m. Central: While taking my wife to Lambert St. Louis International Airport on Easter Sunday afternoon, I had one of my sons shoot video of the damage done by a Good Friday tornado along interstate 70 West of the airport and at the airport.

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Veterans Counter Westboro Baptist Church Protest (Update)

More than 200 people, many of whom were veterans, descended upon downtown St. Charles, Mo., at noon Thursday to counter a 30-minute protest by three sign-carrying members of the controversial Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, a group most well-known for protesting at military funerals.

The Westboro protest came less than three weeks after the St. Charles County Council passed a measure  to ban protests within 300 feet of military funerals beginning one hour before the funeral begins and lasting until one hour after the funeral ends.

Veterans representing at least six Veterans of Foreign Wars posts came from as far away as Hannibal, Mo., 94 miles to the north, and DeSoto, Mo., 60 miles south, according to Roy Sherwood of VFW Post 2866 in St. Charles, Mo.  Their mission:  to make sure the Westboro protesters knew their message and actions against their fallen comrades were not appreciated.

“We fought for their right to do that, but we don’t agree with it,” Sherwood said.  “We came down here as a group to show our support for our veterans.”

Navy veteran Harry Thomas of VFW Post 3944 in Overland, Mo., said he couldn’t understand why the Westboro protesters did what they did and chastised them for doing it.

“Anytime anybody wants to denounce that freedom, it’s wrong,” he said.  “Either be for the country or get out of it.”

Army veteran Jim Sullentrop of VFW Post 312 in St. Charles echoed Thomas’ sentiments.

“I think it’s terrible,” Sullentrop explained after being asked what he thought of the Westboro people disrupting military funerals.  “To disrupt a person’s family at that time?  I don’t understand where they get the right to do that.”

Stephanie Rubach, a St. Louis-area nurse and active member of the St. Louis Tea Party, didn’t mince words as she explained why she came to the counter-protest.

“We’re here for America,” she said.  “We’re here for our country and our soldiers.  That’s what we stand for, and that’s why we’re here,” she added, “and we want them to know it.”

Asked what message he would deliver to the Westboro folks if given the opportunity, Sherwood said, “We don’t appreciate what you’re doing, you know it’s wrong, and the Good Lord will deal with you some day.”

According to a KSDK-TV report yesterday, the county goes to court against the http://stlouisteaparty.com/ over this issue Jan. 18, the same date the City of St. Charles will vote on a measure similar to the one adopted by the county last month.

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

UPDATE 1/7/11 at 8:32 a.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com.

St Louis TV Stations Cover Health Care Town Hall

More than 2,200 people packed the health care town hall meeting Wednesday morning in St. Charles, Mo.  Even if they had wanted to skew their coverage, the overwhelming anti-ObamaCare sentiment at the St. Charles Convention Center likely convinced them otherwise.

Below are video clips of the coverage of the meeting provided by three St. Louis television news outlets:  Fox2News, KMOV and KSDK:

Fox2News (Fox affiliate)

KMOV (CBS affiliate)

KSDK (NBC affiliate) x 2

Americans Ask Media, ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’

High noon showdowns took place at some 100 locations around the country Saturday as conservatives and anti-socialism Americans gathered for “Can You Hear Me Now” rallies focusing attention on mainstream news media outlets’ blatant bias and consistent failure to report both sides of important news stories.

The video below shows how KSDK, the NBC affiliate in St. Louis, reported the protest held outside their downtown St. Louis location.

For more coverage of the St. Louis protest, click on the image below left, courtesy Keyboard Militia.  For coverage from the protests in Denver, click on the El Marco image below right, courtesy of Looking at the Left.

"Can You Hear Me Now? 10-17-09 (KeyboardMilitia.com) Can You Hear Me Now? Rally Denver (Lookingattheleft.com)

Scandal at Saint Louis Brewery — Or Not?

In an investigative report that aired last night on NBC affiliate KSDK Channel 5, reporter Leisa Zigman tried to stoke the fires of anger and discontent that have been brewing in St. Louis ever since the 2008 purchase of Anheuser-Busch by Belgium brewer InBev.  She went so far as to compare the actions of executives at Anheuser-Busch InBev to those of their corporate counterparts at AIG.  It’s amazing what a local television news team will do for ratings.

What exactly did the AB InBev execs do?

In a report she said was based on a month-long investigation, Zigman raised questions about the behavior of the brewing company executives — including four vice presidents and five department leaders — responsible for eliminating thousands of U.S. jobs, slashing salaries and freezing pensions.  They were “caught” partying at the company’s Lake of the Ozarks luxury retreat in southwest Missouri one day before 20 people in the company’s human resources department lost their jobs.

Zigman’s report included interviews with anonymous AB InBev employees and cited documents obtained as incriminating evidence of AB InBev executives behaving in a manner reminiscent of their counterparts at bailout recipient AIG months ago.  Notably, Zigman cited sources who said the retreat cost the company a whopping $100 per person — a figure that doesn’t even register on most corporate ledgers.