Missouri Attorney General Jeremiah W. ``Jay'' Nixon has filed suit against two former quarry owners and a waste tire hauler to force them to clean up an allegedly illegal, million-tire dump in Cass County, Mo.
According to the suit filed Jan. 30 in Cass County Circuit Court, Harlan and Ronald Limpus-shareholders in Limpus Quarries Inc., which operated on leased land about eight miles outside of Archie, Mo.-contracted with James D. Robbins, owner of Jim Robbins Co. Inc. in Kansas City, Mo., to allow Mr. Robbins to dump tires in caverns and ravines on the quarry site.
Inspectors from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has inspected the property six times since 1991-the last three times in 2002-and each time found approximately 1 million tires there, according to the suit.
Mr. Nixon seeks an injunction against Mr. Robbins and the Limpuses to force them to remove and ``properly dispose of'' the scrap tires in the quarry. Barring that, the suit states, the injunction should authorize the Missouri DNR to contract for removal of the tires and bill the defendants for cleanup costs and legal expenses.
Also, the injunction should grant ``such further relief as this court deems just and proper,'' the suit states.
Under Missouri law, Mr. Robbins and the Limpuses are liable for fines of up to $1,000 per day for every day the state finds them to have dumped tires illegally.
Wayne and Mary Lou Bishop, the owners of the quarry site, are not defendants in the suit. The brief explains that when the Limpuses sold Limpus Quarries in 1996, they assumed all liabilities and obligations that otherwise accrued to the Bishops.
Neither Harlan nor Ronald Limpus could be reached for comment, and Mr. Robbins declined comment until the case is resolved. In a Kansas City Star interview, however, Mr. Robbins said he stopped dumping tires on the site in the mid-1970s, long before there were any scrap tire laws in Missouri.
State officials, however, insisted Mr. Robbins dumped tires at Limpus Quarries long after this period, and even if he didn't, the law still requires him to clean up the site.
The Cass County site accounts for about one-third of the 3.2 million illegally dumped scrap tires left in Missouri, according to Beth Marsala, enforcement section chief for the Missouri DNR's Solid Waste Management Program.
Missouri bans landfilling of whole tires and charges 50 cents on the sale of each new tire to fund scrap tire programs, Ms. Marsala said. Sixty-five percent of the money goes for scrap tire abatement, with the rest going for administration, enforcement, collectors, retailers and grants to schools and other organizations for tire-derived playground material.
However, the scrap tire fee sunsets Jan. 1, 2004. Four state senators and three state representatives have introduced bills to reauthorize the fee for varying lengths of time, but it's too soon to know if any of these bills will gain momentum in the legislature, Ms. Marsala said.