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Missouri attorney general's West Lake Landfill suit sent back to circuit court

A cautionary sign at a fence around the West Lake Landfill Superfund site, which contains World War II-era nuclear waste.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio
Legacy nuclear waste at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton was thought to be contained behind this fence, but a recent study detected radiation in trees offsite.

A lawsuit between Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and the operator of the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills has been sent back to St. Louis County’s Circuit Court by a federal judge.

That’s a win for activists, who felt that Republic Services’ nearly seven-month long attempt to push the case to federal court delayed cleanup efforts at the federal Superfund site. In the ruling, the judge said Republic relied on "hand-picked excerpts from lengthy expert reports" to make their case. The two parties will be responsible for their own legal fees. 

In a statement, Republic said the ruling now clears the path for the Environmental Protection Agency to continue its plan to build an isolation barrier between the Manhattan Project-era radioactive waste in the West Lake Landfill, and an underground smoldering fire beneath the Bridgeton Landfill. 

Koster's office did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB