June 15, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said today he has filed a lawsuit in Dunklin County targeting two men cited for violations of Missouri's air conservation laws.
Koster said he is seeking an injunction and civil penalties against attorney H. Max Hilfiker and contractor Carlton Stewart. After Hilfiker's law office was severely damaged by fire, he hired Stewart to remove the debris. Neither man arranged for an inspection to determine whether the debris contained asbestos materials, which would require disposal under the direction of a certified asbestos abatement contractor, nor did they notify DNR prior to the cleanup. After Stewart completed demolition of the building, he then transported the waste to his property, where he burned it in the open air, in violation of Missouri law.
"We all have not only a moral obligation, but also a legal obligation, to serve as stewards of our environment," Koster said. "When people violate our laws by polluting the air and harming our quality of life, this office will not stand idly by."
Koster said he has received no response to a settlement offer. He is asking the court to assess civil penalties not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation of the law; to issue an injunction preventing the defendants from further violations of the law; and to require the defendants to pay all court costs.