March 16, 2009
Hannibal, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster is suing a Ralls County family for illegal trash disposal and open burning on their property in Hannibal. Koster is alleging widespread violations of Missouri's Solid Waste Management and Air Conservation laws over the past five years.
The five defendants named in the lawsuit are James Bailey Watkins, Sarah Ann Ardrey, Robert Lee Ardrey and Carrie L. Watkins of Hannibal, as well as Aura Newton Griffith of New London. The five defendants have owned or controlled the property in question. Koster says since early 2007, the defendants have violated Missouri law by dumping or permitting the illegal dumping of tires, demolition waste, appliances, car parts and other waste material on the property.
"An operation like this is a health hazard and an eye-sore, and the damage done to the environment could come back to haunt northeast Missourians for generations," Koster said.
In the lawsuit, filed in Ralls County Circuit Court, the Attorney General is asking the court to order the property owners to clean up all solid waste illegally dumped on the property and immediately stop any further illegal dumping or burning. Missouri law allows civil penalties of $1,000 per day per violation of the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and $10,000 per day per violation of the Missouri Air Conservation Law.