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State Sen. Chappelle-Nadal resigns from U. City school board to focus on Bridgeton landfills

Missouri Senate

Updated at 4:38 p.m. on Sept. 17 with audio - On Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, announced her resignation as a member of the University City School Board. She said she was doing so to focus on issues surrounding radioactive contamination in the region, specifically naming the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills, as well as nearColdwater Creek.

Chappelle-Nadal has been vocal about radioactive contamination in the St. Louis area for some time, drawing attention to the issue on social media and supporting residents near the contaminated sites who are demanding more immediate clean-ups. Earlier this month, Missouri Attorney General Chris Kosterreleased several reports that showed radiation from the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton has spread to neighboring properties. The landfill falls within Chappelle-Nadal’s Senate district.

“Independent scientists use the term Chernobyl-like event in the attorney general’s report,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “For independent scientists to say that, that is a remarkable statement. And, so at the bare minimum, the people of Missouri, the people of St. Louis deserve to know what the truth is.”

The landfills’ owner, Republic Services, has maintained that the situation at the landfills is under control. 

“The good senator is a passionate advocate for her constituents and she’s done a lot of good work for the community during Ferguson and after Ferguson, but I fundamentally disagree with her comparisons of the site to Chernobyl or the situation in Ferguson, or even in terms of scalability as it compares to Ferguson,” said Russ Knocke, the Director of Field Communications & Public Affairs at Republic Services. “The fact is that the EPA, the DHSS and a number of experts ranging from air or water or land continue to state that the site is safe and nothing rises to the level of a public health concern.”

On Thursday’s show, Chappelle-Nadal said that the situation at the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills is “bigger than Ferguson” and deserved more of her attention:

I want to announce formally and publically that I will be resigning from the University City School Board effective Sept. 30. The reason why is, the issue is so huge. When you look at all the facts and look at some of the complaints that people have made, this is beyond what one person can handle.

While I have totally enjoyed serving the people of University City on the school board, and you all know how important education is, I also believe that the livelihood of every St. Louisan is equally important and that’s where I want to put my time.

You can listen to the full “St. Louis on the Air” broadcast online here.

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.