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EPA's Weekly Report, February 2, 2018

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The following links exit the site ExitFrom a monumental State of the Union Address, to a historic decision on the West Lake Superfund site, to a speech at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, to a meeting with the Florida Farm Bureau, and an in-depth interview on The New York Times’ The Daily podcast it was a week of action at the EPA. 

In an interview with The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Administrator Pruitt outlined his course of action to cleanup West Lake. “In a long-awaited decision that appears to be a compromise, the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday recommended partial excavation of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton to remove radioactive waste linked to the Manhattan Project. The EPA said the proposed remedy, which it calls ‘Excavation Plus,’ is expected to take five years to implement and will remove the “majority” of radioactivity by digging to a depth of about 16 feet, while installing an engineered cover system for long-term protection. ‘The consideration here was timing, it was certainty, it was respect to human health that was being protected,’ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Post-Dispatch in a phone call Thursday morning. Radioactive waste was dumped illegally at West Lake in the early 1970s, but the landfill wasn’t placed on the Superfund National Priorities List until 1990. Today, the landfill is widely regarded as one of the most high-profile — and complex — Superfund sites in the country, and in December was named one of 21 nationwide to be targeted for ‘immediate, intense action’ by the EPA Superfund Task Force.”

St. Louis' CBS Radio reported that Just Moms STL was happy with Pruitt's decision. "Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel of the Just Moms STL advocacy group say at first, the group was worried a partial removal would mean only 5 percent removed. With a 70 percent or more removal — they are pleased. 'I can tell you that we are happy with this decision, and what this does for us is it gives us direction,' Nickel says. 'We’ve gone without a decision at the site for 10 years, and it’s time that we have direction.'"

Additionally, Pruitt appeared on Fox Business to discuss West Lake. 

The Washington Post reported that West Lake was Exhibit A in Pruitt’s mission to cleanup Superfund sites. “The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday ordered a long-awaited cleanup of a Superfund site northwest of St. Louis, saying residents living near the landfill contaminated with World War II-era nuclear waste deserve action after waiting 27 years for federal regulators to issue a decision. … ‘The people of the St. Louis region deserve clarity and answers,’ Pruitt said in a statement Thursday. ‘I promised them an answer, and today I am making good on that commitment.’ He added that he sought a remedy at the site that would ‘protect public health, comply with the law, and hold potentially responsible parties accountable.’ Thursday’s announcement also was intended to be Exhibit A in demonstrating Pruitt’s commitment to revitalizing the agency’s Superfund program, which includes the nation’s most polluted sites, by streamlining and accelerating cleanups.”

In a sit-down interview with the Wall Street Journal, Pruitt said West Lake sends a results driven message. “‘This sends a message that we’re actually going to get results,’ Mr. Pruitt said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. ‘Frankly it’s just what we ought to be doing.’ Major progress on that work could become a legacy-shifting achievement for a regulator now known largely for making friendlier relationships with industry and dismantling programs from the previous administration under President Barack Obama. … Mr. Pruitt has also argued the EPA could be more productive by focusing more on longstanding programs and problems, especially superfund cleanups.”

Pruitt also joined The New York Times’ The Daily to discuss how he’s a rule of law Administrator who is focused on protecting the environment and human health.

In an op-ed to the Pensacola News-Journal, the head of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce praised the work that is being done at the EPA. "As a chamber that sees how federal policies and regulations impact even our smallest businesses, I applaud the recent actions our president and the EPA have taken to positively impact an important industry here in Florida — agriculture."

The Deseret News reported that Utah farmers and ranchers praised Pruitt's work on WOTUS. “When new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt visited Utah last summer, he told Gov. Gary Herbert and local ranchers he wanted to retool a federal rule redefining the meaning of ‘waters’ of the United States. Pruitt revisited that promise Thursday when his office announced a two-year delay to the implementation of the Waters of the United States rule that has been fiercely condemned by ranchers, farmers and energy companies. … Farmers and ranchers were adamant over a repeal or rewrite of the rule. ‘We applaud the EPA and Army Corps for hitting the pause button while we search for added clarity and certainty for America's farmers,’ said Dennis Nuxoll in a statement released by the Western Growers, which represents local and regional farmers in multiple Western states.”