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October 31, 2014
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Updated: Oct. 22 (17:14)
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Community, Environmentalists, Teamsters Tell EPA: Stop Nuclear Fires at Republic Landfill in Missouri
Posted On: Jan 20, 2013

(St. Louis, MO) – Last night, more than 300 people from the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Missouri Jobs with Justice, and the Teamsters Union attended a public meeting held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There, community leaders spoke out against the increasingly dangerous and volatile situation at West Lake Landfill Superfund Site in Bridgeton, Mo. The landfill is operated by Republic Services [NYSE: RSG], the nation’s second-largest trash company.

The site, located in the Missouri River floodplain, is home to radioactive wastes dumped there in 1973 following secret uranium processing in downtown St. Louis. In late October 2012, residents around the landfill began complaining of foul odors and burning eyes—and the Pattonville Fire Department expressed alarm at rising underground temperatures and the danger that the developing underground landfill fire could migrate toward the buried nuclear waste sites.

At last night’s meeting, attendees demanded that the radioactive wastes be immediately isolated from the underground fire and then properly and completely removed from the floodplain.

“The site is becoming more radioactive over time,” said Dr. Bob Criss, professor of Geo-Chemistry at Washington University and a Missouri River expert. “A floodplain in an urban area is one of the most absurd places to store radioactive wastes that I can think of.”

The West Lake Landfill Superfund Site is the only radioactive site in the St. Louis area under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Army Corps of Engineers has removed more than 1 million cubic yards of radioactive wastes from four sites in greater St. Louis. However, the EPA has yet to remove a single cubic yard of radioactive wastes from the West Lake Landfill site.

“According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, it was illegal to dump the radioactive wastes in the Missouri River floodplain in 1973. It should be illegal for the EPA to knowingly leave them there,” said Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “It’s technically feasible to remove the radioactive wastes and it should be done as soon as possible.”

While the EPA has refused to take action to remove the radioactive wastes for decades, the recent fire at the landfill has caught the attention of local officials and the greater St. Louis community.

“We have members who live near and around the landfill. We also have members who work on the site, and we believe that the nonunion workers who work under Republic’s thumb deserve protection as well. The fire on its own is a big problem. What if the landfill fire were to reach the radioactive waste?” said Marv Kropp, President of Teamsters Joint Council 13.

“Landfill fires can burn on for years and expand—just look at what happened to Republic’s landfill in Centerville, Ohio—a fire that raged for years until state officials and the EPA finally stepped up and forced real action on the part of the company,” Kropp added.

“Our community can no longer tolerate delays—we’re sitting on a ticking toxic time bomb,” said Lara Granich, Director of Missouri Jobs with Justice “Now is the time that the EPA and Republic Services must act.”

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment is Missouri’s independent, citizens’ environmental organization for clean water, clean air, clean energy, and a healthy environment. Founded in 1969, the coalition works to protect and restore the environment through education, public engagement, and legal action.

Missouri Jobs with Justice is a coalition of community, labor, student and religious groups committed to fighting together for economic justice in Missouri. Jobs with Justice's goals are to organize community support for workers treated unjustly and/or illegally in the workplace and to address the root causes of poverty while working for an economic base that benefits the entire community – an economic base that benefits more than just corporations.


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  • Teamsters are standing together to protect good jobs as Sysco, the country’s largest foodservice provider, attempts to purchase its only national competitor, US Foods. Join our campaign to demand that Sysco and US Foods honor their agreements with 11,500 Teamsters and protect the livelihoods of the men and women who make these companies leaders in the industry. LIKE our Facebook page, here.

  • Taylor Farms workers in Tracy, California are standing up against poverty wages, disrespect and severe violations of their most basic rights. These 900 food processing workers in the Central Valley cut, wash and package salads and other products for the largest supplier of fresh-cut produce in the country. They feed the customers of major grocers, retailers and restaurant chains, including Walmart and McDonald’s.

    With a revenue of $1.8 billion in 2012, Taylor Farms can afford to treat its workers in Tracy with dignity and pay fair wages, just like their Teamster coworkers have at Taylor Farms’ facilities in Salinas, California. But when workers came together to organize with Teamsters Local 601, the company responded mercilessly. It fired, harassed, and punished workers for supporting the union. The company threatened immigrant workers with deportation, hiring an army of union-busters to run a non-stop fear campaign. During an NLRB election for union representation, Taylor Farms deployed a goon squad of supervisors to intimidate workers. The company’s violations were so egregious that the Labor Board impounded ballots while it investigates hundreds of Unfair Labor Practice charges.

    Workers in Tracy, following in the footsteps of labor leader and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez, are taking their fight to the public. The workers’ struggle for a better life for their families is supported by Teamsters in California and nationwide. We are building a movement for respect for the workers who feed America.

    ¡Si Se Puede!

  • The 2014 elections are right around the corner and this is your headquarters for the Teamsters Vote 2014 program. The page provides information on registering to vote, news about the Teamsters Vote 2014 campaign and a legislative scorecard that shows how your Member of Congress and Senators voted on the issues that matter to Teamster members and America’s working families.

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  • This web page provides information on our fight against fast-track legislation. The measure requires Congress to take only a quick up-or-down vote on secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and does not allow such agreements to be amended. It limits Congress’ constitutionally mandated oversight of such trade deals and lets others decide what’s best for America. The result is fewer good-paying U.S. jobs and unsafe food and products for Americans. Read more to find out why fast track is the wrong track for Teamsters and America.

  • Teamsters at Republic Services/Allied Waste have stood together in recent years to fight for strong contracts, including going on strike and supporting their fellow striking workers. Workers continue to fight for strong contracts that include retirement security at the second largest solid waste company. This campaign page is dedicated to those ongoing efforts.

  • Welcome to Teamster Organizing!

    You've heard it said that the best defense is a good offense. In the war on workers, Teamster Organizing is on the offensive! We're winning power for workers across industries and across North America. Join us!

  • Join the movement to stop the war on workers. Corporate CEOs and billionaires are attacking you, your family and your job. The battlefield is in statehouses throughout the country.  Our jobs, our health, our kids, our retirement and our standard of living are all at risk. Check this page frequently for updates. 

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