Contractor Sued Over Joplin Tornado Waste

April 4, 2013

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing a southwest Missouri company for allegedly dumping tornado waste from Joplin into an abandoned mine shaft.

Koster on Monday announced the suit against Bryan Weldon and Weldon Contractors and Construction LLC of Joplin. It alleges that Weldon dumped about 100 cubic yards of demolition waste from the May 2011 Joplin tornado into an abandoned mine shaft near Neck City in Jasper County.

Koster said the dumping violated the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and the Cave Resources Act. The suit seeks an injunction against further dumping as well as a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per day and court costs.

“Missouri’s natural resources are important to this state and must be protected,” Koster said. “No one should be allowed to use a mine shaft as an illegal dump, and those who abuse the environment in this way will be prosecuted.”

Weldon said he has spent thousands of dollars to clean up the site and thought the case was resolved. He said he been told by a city official it was OK to place the material at the site.

“I’m shocked to hear they went ahead with the suit,” Weldon said.

The massive tornado that hit Joplin on May 22, 2011, was one of the deadliest in recent U.S. history. It cut a mile-wide path through Joplin, killing 161 people and destroying thousands of homes and buildings. Cleanup took several months.

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