May 17, 2007
Warrensburg, Mo. — Citing violations of Missouri's Air Conservation Law, Attorney General Jay Nixon today filed a lawsuit against a Higginsville man over allegations that the man engaged in open burning on two occasions. The lawsuit was filed in Johnson County Circuit Court, in the county where the alleged incidents took place.
According to Nixon, defendant Steve Schnakenberg was issued notices of violation by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on two occasions. On or about Oct. 19, 2005, an employee of the Johnson County Community Health Service observed Schnakenberg burning what appeared to be building materials, metals, appliances and brush at property he owned at 18 Southeast 180 Road near Warrensburg. At the time, the defendant said he was unaware that open burning was illegal.
On or about Jan.19, 2006, DNR investigated a complaint of open burning at property owned by the defendant at 294 Southeast Highway PP near Leeton in Johnson County and observed the remains of a burned mobile home. The defendant admitted that he intentionally burned the mobile home and was cited for a second violation.
"First the defendant is caught engaging in unlawful open burning, and says he didn't know it was against the law. Then he goes ahead and is cited for open burning a second time," Nixon said. "It's obvious that a message needs to be sent to this person that such gross violations of our clean air laws will not be tolerated."
Nixon's lawsuit requests that the court find that the defendant violated provisions of the Missouri Air Conservation Law and its regulations and to assess a civil penalty of up to $20,000 for violating the law. The lawsuit also calls for the defendant to pay all court costs in the case.