I was a bit irritated to read the letter to the editor in this morning's Joplin Globe from Leanne Tippett Mosby of the Department of Natural Resources.
The letter was in response to citizen efforts to prevent a newly created company from operating a landfill in eastern Jasper County.
"The department cannot require the permit holder to restart the permitting process each time a permit changes hands or require that the geology of the site be re-examined," Ms. Mosby wrote.
The tone seemed to be one of lecturing the people who will be the neighbors of this landfill, even though it is their lives that will be affected and not Ms. Mosby, who I am sure lives nowhere near a landfill or any of the other environmentally unfriendly sites that are supposedly regulated by her department.
Perhaps it is time for a little history lesson. In 1991, when this landfill was first being considered, I wrote a two-part series for The Carthage Press detailing the federal felony conviction of property owner Bud Gehrs of Joplin for committing crimes against the environment (if anyone has a copy of that article and can get it to me, it would be much appreciated. Unfortunately, when you have written more than 20,000 articles, it is impossible to keep all of them and that one appears to have slipped through the cracks.)
That felony conviction should have disqualified Gehrs from having anything to do with operating a landfill in this state, according to Missouri state statutes, but those were ignored by the DNR and the permit was eventually granted. Even though, as far as I know, Gehrs is no longer involved in this project, the process that resulted in the permit being granted was flawed and violated state law.
The last thing people in this area need is a state bureaucrat lecturing us about the law. What would be nice is to have state bureaucrats who believe in following the law.
(Note: Anyone with a copy of that newspaper article or any other information can mail it to: Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801, or e-mail it to email@example.com)