Some elected officials embarrass us by what they do, don’t do or say.
Take Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal for example. This longtime black Democrat crossed the line when she announced on social media her hope that President Donald J. Trump would be “assassinated” because she didn’t like the way he responded to events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Whether one agrees or disagrees with an elected official, it is never okay to publically call for his or her assassination.
Before she was caught on social media encouraging violence violent against the President, Chappelle-Nadal was pursuing equally disturbing plans for the West Lake Superfund site. Working with a fringe group called Just Moms STL as well as the Teamsters, Chappelle-Nadal was pushing a crazy legislative scheme to force the state of Missouri to buy hundreds of homes from owners who believe their properties have been contaminated by the nearby Westlake landfill. This costly evacuation plan contradicts sound science and commonsense.
Just Moms STL has been radicalized to the point that the group refuses to accept any scientific data that doesn’t support its agenda. Filmmakers who made a documentary about their efforts to clean up the landfill observed: “Just Moms states that it will not stop fighting until the EPA either fully removes the waste or permanently relocates residents living nearest the landfill.”
The site probably does contain some radiological waste that was dumped there in the 70s. However, studies conducted by the federal, state, and county health and environmental authorities have repeatedly found the site to be stable and not a danger to anyone. Nonetheless, for the past 44 years the federal government has planned to clean up the site located in Bridgeton, Missouri.
Experts and federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency have determined that cap-in-place site remediation makes the most sense and is the most cost effective, but rational solutions aren’t of much interest to Chappelle-Nadal. It is unclear if she is trying to pay back her union buddies or simply abuse the legislative process for some other personal gain. Regardless, greater scrutiny needs to be given to Chappelle-Nadal’s proposal, particularly since the EPA concluded in 2015 that:
“The available scientific data indicates that people living near and working outside the boundary of the West Lake Landfill are not currently being exposed to contaminants from West Lake Landfill that are above a level of concern.”
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Chappelle-Nadal has worked with community organizers and labor unions to create a sense of false hope that junk science, press releases, and dramatic television stories will produce a financial bonanza for them all. Few things can be worse, frankly, than people in positions of responsibility creating the false hope that relief will come for a problem that doesn’t exist, according to sound science.
There are lots of trial lawyers who’d probably love to have the state Senator and Just Moms STL as spokesmen and allies in an effort to actually delay remediation of the site to produce a bigger pay day in the end. The site’s been on the EPA’s Superfund list for clean up since the 70s. The landfill site owners are committed to remediating it quickly and thoroughly and new EPA chief Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma Attorney General, publically acknowledged that a quick clean up of the site is a personal priority. In contrast Chappelle-Nadal and her allies in this effort –including Democratic Sen. Sen. McCaskill – want to delay the clean-up for a decade or more, flying in the face of years of work and common sense.
Now Senator Chappelle-Nadal finds herself under investigation by the United States Secret Service for a federal crime or threatening the life of the President. She’s been stripped of her committee assignments in the Missouri state Senate and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said he may call the legislature back into special session specifically to hold a vote on expelling her. Senator Chappelle-Nadal’s social media has revealed to America what kind of person she truly is. Hopefully her zany ideas for the West Lake landfill will now be seen in the right context as well.