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Koster Threatens More Legal Action Against Burning Landfill

Kevin Killeen
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Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster meets with Republic Services officials.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster meets with Republic Services officials.

BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster warns the owners of the burning landfill to cooperate more with state and local officials — or face court action.

Koster’s comments follow a meeting he held Monday with landfill officials to discuss Sunday’s surface fire. That fire near a methane pump on the southern border of the Bridgeton Landfill was quickly put out and was reportedly not related to the underground fire.

Nevertheless, Koster is critical of how the weekend fire was handled — how long it took the landfill owners to notify the Pattonville Fire Protection District.

“This is a dangerous situation ,” Koster said, “The Pattonville Fire District needs to be brought in and trained to the highest level, and prepared for a variety of contingencies that could occur in the future.”

Bridgeton landfill fire response on February 16, 2014 (KMOX/Brian Kelly)

Bridgeton landfill fire response on February 16, 2014 (KMOX/Brian Kelly)

Koster also wants Republic Service to release carbon monoxide data that could help firefighters gauge where the underground fire is moving.

“One of the reasons we are going back into court is because there is more data we want to receive,” Koster said, “particularly the carbon monoxide data from the north quarry. We’ve asked the court to demand that Republic provide us that in a timely and ongoing basis.”

A court date has been set for June 19th.

As the underground fire continues to burn, Koster says he remains committed to digging a firebreak trench to separate the flames from the nearby nuclear material at the West Lake Landfill.

“The delays in the engineering process are coming from the fact that some of the coring samples are still pulling up radioactive material,” Koster said, “They are having difficulty finding a clean line.”

Koster says he hasn’t decided yet whether he would support calls to transfer jurisdiction for the landfill from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers — a move which many claim could result in the total removal of nuclear material from the site.

“There is a great deal of research that goes into analyzing what actually is in West Lake Landfill,” Koster said, “The Army Corps would very possibly have to re-do and rethink a lot of decisions that have occurred at the EPA level.”

Copyright KMOX

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