St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A federal judge is sending Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s environmental lawsuit against the owner of the Bridgeton Landfill back to St. Louis County Circuit Court.
In October, Republic Services, the owner of the burning Bridgeton Landfill and the adjacent radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill, removed the 2013 state lawsuit to federal court. After several state reports suggested some radioactive material was discovered outside of West Lake Landfill, Republic argued that Koster’s office was seeking to assert state control over radioactive material under federal Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction.
Koster called the move, a few months before a now-delayed trial date, a stalling tactic.
On Tuesday, the court ruled that Missouri wasn’t challenging EPA’s Superfund authority, finding that Republic’s “reliance on hand-picked excerpts from lengthy expert reports amounts to an injection of ‘a federal question into an otherwise state-law claim.’”
Republic said the ruling was made “based on assurances made by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office that the State will not seek any court order concerning the radiologically impacted material.” That, Republic said, will allow EPA to finish its planning for a barrier between the two landfills “without further litigation involvement by the state of Missouri.”