JEFFERSON CITY - A legislative committee heard from St. Louis area homeowners about their concerns from a burning landfill next to radioactive waste.
Their testimony came before the Senate Commerce Committee hearing a bill that would establish a program to purchase their homes.
The measure addresses a continuing burning landfill in St. Louis County's Bridgeton adjacent to radioactive waste.One witness said her son now has asthma and severely swollen tonsils from being in the area. Another witness testified about growing up in the area and how she is disappointed that the area has been contaminated and that she can no longer live there.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced in December it would construct a barrier at the landfill to avoid future problems. After the most recent heavy rains, EPA reported it is unlikely that radioactive material had been "transported," but that it was continuing to monitor the situation.
Under the bill before the Senate committee, homeowners living within a three mile radius of Bridgeton Landfill, West Lake Landfill, or Coldwater Creek could apply to sell their home at the market rate to the state Natural Resources Department.
Legislative staff estimate the measure could cost the state more than $70 million in the first full year of implementation.The bill's sponsor is Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County.
"I believe that families that want to get out, should be able to," she told the Senate committee.
One committee member -- Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City -- questioned what the state could do with the contaminated land if it were purchased by the committee.The committee took no immediate action on the measure.