ATLANTA, April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Teamsters and community members protested Republic Services, Inc. [NYSE: RSG] at WASTE EXPO 2014 at the Atlanta Convention Center. The protesters held banners that read "Republic Services: Toxic For Our Communities" as they called on Republic to protect the health and safety of its workers and communities. The protesters had also distributed leaflets and reports to attendees of the WASTE EXPO Investor Summit last night. Today's protest was followed by a press conference about Republic's risks to investors and the public.
In Bridgeton, Missouri, Republic's West Lake landfill is a Superfund site containing illegally buried radioactive nuclear waste. An underground fire at the landfill is spreading dangerously close to the radioactive wastes, forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a barrier trench.
Radioactivity has allegedly spread outside the boundaries of the Bridgeton landfill. Elected Missouri officials, community groups, environmental activists and labor organizations are advocating for the Army Corps of Engineers to completely remove the nuclear wastes and charge Republic for the cost of the cleanup.
Republic's 2013 annual report indicates it has already spent $219 million on remediation charges at its Missouri landfill, with estimated remaining liabilities of $342 million. If the Army Corps of Engineers takes over the remediation of the nuclear waste, it could dramatically increase Republic's liabilities. A report released by the Teamsters last week details the escalating costs to the public and investors for Republic's mismanagement of the Bridgeton/West Lake landfill.
In Ohio, Republic is starting more remediation work at its Countywide Landfill, in an attempt to control odors stemming from a 9-year underground fire. Republic has already spent $85 million on various problems at Countywide. Republic has also spent tens of millions on other lawsuits and environmental violations at landfills in South Carolina, Ohio and Nevada. Republic operates nearly 200 landfills in the United States.
"Sanitation work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America," said "Doc" Holiday, former Republic supervisor and roll-off driver in Atlanta. "We live and work in these communities. Republic has a moral obligation to protect residents and workers, from radioactivity and other toxins in its landfills."
Amber Robins, a resident of Alton, Illinois, traveled to Atlanta to raise awareness of Republic's toxic landfills. At the press conference she stated, "I live near the Roxana Landfill which is also owned by Republic. Waste from the Bridgeton Landfill is being dug up and shipped just over the state line to Roxana. We deserve to know what's being dumped in our back yard and what the health risks are."
"Bill Gates is the largest shareholder of Republic Services, yet he has refused to get involved when the company's behavior affects the health and safety of thousands of Americans," said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. "For someone who claims to want to improve the public's health, it is shocking that he won't discuss the health and environmental impacts of Republic's landfill operations."