The Bridgeton landfill is so smelly that the attorney general's office might have to intervene.
At least the director of the Missouri department of natural resources has requested that the agriculture and environment division of Attorney General Chris Koster's office get involved and "institute appropriate legal action." The company in question is Republic Services, which operates a landfill in Bridgeton that has gotten attention for months for the ongoing -- and worsening -- bad smell.
Criticisms have increased over the last two weeks, first with environmental groups and experts warning of a potential "dirty bomb" tied to radioactivity, then with a new report from the natural resources department, suggesting that the odors could pose some sort of future health risk.
But this request to the attorney general takes the fight to a new level -- and could possibly pave the way for a legal dispute.
See also: - Bridgeton Odor: Landfill Company "Very Sorry" About Bad Smells, Working on Solution - Bridgeton Landfill: Really Awful Smell Not A Health Hazard, But Still Stinky - Bridgeton Landfill: We All "Want the Same Thing: To Dramatically Reduce the Odor"
The short letter from Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri department of natural Resources, to Jack McManus, chief of the agriculture and environment division of the attorney general's office, says:
As Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, I hereby request that your office institute appropriate legal action to resolve any past, present, or future environmental violations at the above-referenced facility.
A spokeswoman for the attorney general tells us this morning that the office has received the referral and is reviewing it.
In a short statement, Bridgeton Landfill LLC, operated by Republic Services, says:
Bridgeton Landfill, LLC has been cooperating with MDNR and local government officials at all levels as we work to resolve the odor issues at the landfill. We're now looking forward to also working with Attorney General Koster and his team.
Continue for more on the Bridgeton landfill and the full letter.
It's unclear at this time what the involvement of the AG's office could mean for the company running the landfill. Republic Services has maintained that the site does not pose health hazards and that it is open to any scrutiny from various state agencies regarding materials on site. If the AG's office does get involved, it could possibly impact how the company and the state pays for various mitigation and reviews costs, for example.
Regardless, environmental groups that have been critical of Republic Services are pleased with the request.
"The government should be using the tools it has to protect the citizens around the landfill," Ed Smith, safe energy director for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, tells Daily RFT. "So if that means going through the AG's office to make sure Republic is providing proper resources to mitigate problems associated with the landfill...that is encouraging."
Here's the full letter.