Josh Hawley Seeks Funding for St. Louis Residents Poisoned by Oppenheimer’s Manhattan Project Testing

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

This week, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) appeared on my radio program, the Tim Jones and Chris Arps show. During his interview with us, we touched on a wide range of domestic, international, and local issues. One issue we discussed resonated with me because it affected me personally: the radioactive contamination of Coldwater Creek during the Manhattan Project. Coldwater Creek ran through the subdivision in North St. Louis County where I grew up.


Senator Hawley has sponsored legislation that will create a fund for the victims of radioactive contamination in North St. Louis County. St. Louis played a crucial role in the Manhattan Project, which is depicted in the summer blockbuster movie Oppenheimer. Unfortunately, this project’s legacy still lingers in the region, and Senator Hawley’s bill addresses this painful history and its impact on the people of St. Louis.

His proposed legislation outlines a comprehensive plan to remediate the area from radiation and provide financial assistance to the families affected. One gut-wrenching aftermath of the contamination is its effects on an elementary school in the Hazelwood School District. Radioactive material was discovered in 2022, not only in the vicinity of the creek but also in the school’s playground and cafeteria, exposing children to potential health risks.

I know of several individuals who have lost their lives to pancreatic cancer, including my own father. I also know of other friends and acquaintances who have battled rare cancers and autoimmune diseases. The common denominator? We all lived in North County by or near Coldwater Creek. Cold Water Creek isn’t the only site in America that has grappled with radioactive and hazardous waste contamination. Across the country, there have been instances where similar areas have been successfully cleaned up, easing the worry of affected residents.


Senator Hawley’s dedication to this cause is commendable. This bipartisan bill stands as an opportunity to bridge political divides and extend a helping hand to the affected families by giving them the financial support they deserve. The radioactive waste dumped during the Manhattan Project in Coldwater Creek has cast a long shadow over the lives of its residents for far too long. Finding a resolution for the contaminated creek is within reach. It is now incumbent upon the House of Representatives to rise above political divisions and swiftly pass this crucial bill and promptly send it to President Biden’s desk.


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