Koster suing land developer

Nick Rees Aug. 5, 2010, 2:19pm


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against a land development company and its owner over allegations of pollution from construction that reached nearby streams.

Koster's lawsuit alleges that Harris Land Development LLC and owners Gerald Harris and Gerald Harris, Jr., violated Missouri's Clean Water Law. The allegations rise from the development of the 375-acre Liberty Heights subdivision in St. Robert in 2007, and the 35-acre Heritage Estates subdivision in 2006, also in St. Robert.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources alleges that water contaminants from Liberty Heights were allowed to run off into Burchard Hollow and then into Roubidoux Creek. Heritage Estates contaminants entered Sawmill Hollow and, from there, Gasconade River, Koster claims.

The defendants also allegedly failed to install erosion control structures or Best Management Practices at the developments. Additionally, weekly site inspections at the subdivisions were not performed and the defendants failed to comply with record keeping requirements as required by law, Koster claims.

"Every developer in our state is obligated to ensure the environmental integrity of their development sites," Koster said. "This office will aggressively pursue any developers who show disregard for our environmental laws."

Koster's lawsuit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions to require the defendants to comply with the Clean Water Law.

Koster is also seeking a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation of the Clean Water Law and to require the defendants to pay all costs associated with the case.

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