Oppose S. 1211

June 29, 2017

U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C.  20510

Dear Senator,

On May 24, 2017, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced S. 1211, a bill to require the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, to undertake remediation oversight of the West Lake Landfill located in Bridgeton, Missouri.  This would be accomplished by transferring oversight of the clean-up from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On behalf of the 1.2 million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I urge you to oppose this legislation.

As you may be aware, S. 2306, which was similar to S. 1211, was introduced in the 114th Congress and pushed through the Senate without debate.  As was the case with S. 2306, if S. 1211 is enacted, taxpayers would be on the hook for millions of dollars in cleanup costs, since assumption of control for the project by the Army Corps of Engineers would require additional appropriations.  Otherwise, under Superfund, clean-up costs are to be borne by the current owner of the site, even if the owner did not contaminate the landfill; any owner subsequent to the original polluter assumes responsibility for remediation.  Moreover, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has indicated that his agency will focus on core mission projects, like site clean-up.  Indeed, he specifically mentioned the West Lake site as one that would have his personal attention.

S. 1211 cannot be allowed to pass the Senate without proper vetting as was done with S. 2306.  The bill should be subject to the regular committee process.  Hearings and open debate will reveal that the transfer is not in the best interests of taxpayers, and the proposed cure is more harmful than the disease.

I urge you to object to any consideration of S. 1211 on the floor of the Senate without having it go through the committee process, and to vote against the legislation should it reach the floor in that manner as well.  All votes on S. 1211 will be among those considered for CCAGW’s 2017 Congressional Ratings.

Sincerely, 

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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