Attorney General's News Release
July 15, 2008
Nixon protects clean air by cracking down on open burning violators in lawsuits filed around the state
Jefferson City, Mo. - Residents of five Missouri counties who allegedly violated state clean air laws through open burning of commercial and demolition waste are facing legal action from Attorney General Jay Nixon. In the past six weeks, Nixon has filed lawsuits against defendants in Andrew, Audrain, Buchanan, Lafayette and Macon Counties to stop the illegal burning and obtain penalties for the state.
Nixon's office represents the Missouri Air Conservation Commission and Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which are together charged with administering and enforcing the Missouri Air Conservation Law and its regulations. One such regulation prohibits conducting, causing, permitting or allowing the disposal of trade waste, construction waste, salvage operation waste or demolition project waste by open burning. In each case, DNR attempted to enter into settlement agreements with the defendants but were unsuccessful, before referring each case to the Attorney General for legal action.
Those being sued by the Attorney General for illegal open burning are:
- Gary Kleoppel of Bates City, who was cited for a violation of the state air conservation law after the local fire protection district responded to a fire on his property on March 15, 2008 and found the defendant burning asphalt, asphalt shingles, telephone poles, railroad ties and electrical wiring. A lawsuit was filed in Lafayette County Circuit Court on July 9, 2008.
- Tommie Devore of Rush Hill, cited for burning copper wire after the Audrain County Sheriff's Department investigated complaints of open burning at his residence in April 2007. A subsequent DNR investigation found evidence of the salvage of copper wire by burning in May 2007. A lawsuit was filed in Audrain County Circuit Court on June 30, 2008.
- John and Darcie Devore of Gower, cited by DNR for burning trade waste, such as asphalt shingles and other roofing material, at their residence in May 2007. A lawsuit was filed in Buchanan County Circuit Court on June 30, 2008.
- Jamie Turner of Bevier, cited by DNR for burning wood flooring from a demolished trailer on his property in April 2006. A lawsuit was filed in Macon County Circuit Court on June 30, 2008.
- Mathew Bechtold of Savannah, cited by DNR for violations after the local rural fire protection district responded twice to fires at a trailer court in February 2007 and found that the defendant had set fires to several trailers for the purpose of salvaging the trailers. A lawsuit was filed in Andrew County Circuit Court on May 30, 2008.
In each case, the Attorney General is requesting that the court issue a permanent injunction against each defendant requiring them to comply with all provisions of the Missouri Air Conservation Law and to assess a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation of the law.