SLUDGE group formed

Free chili to be served at first meeting Nov. 10

Last week, five neighbors of Denali Water Solutions’ Evans storage basin near Fairview formed SLUDGE, an LLC dedicated to fighting Denali’s practices of storing and land-applying its waste beneath their noses.

The group will host its first public meeting on Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., at the John Q. Hammons Community Center, located at 110 W. Main Street in Fairview. SLUDGE member and spokesperson, Vallerie Steele, who lives adjacent to the Evans lagoon, also referred to as a “storage basin,” invites everyone to attend.

“We’ll be serving free chili and dessert,” Steele said. “There’s no admission charge. We just want to give everyone who’s concerned about what’s happening to our land in southwest Missouri the opportunity to meet [SLUDGE members] and discuss how we can band together to change things.”

Environmental attorney Stephen Jeffery, of The Jeffery Law Group, LLC, in St. Louis, will be the guest speaker at the public event. Jeffery has more than 35 years of experience in environmental law and environmental litigation matters. He served as the General Counsel for the DNR from 1987-1993, where he was involved in the cleanup of the Times Beach Superfund site, the development of the 200-mile KATY Trail State Park and the development of Missouri’s Title V air operating permit program.

Jeffery currently represents Citizens of RandolphCountyAgainst Pollution (CRAP) in its suit against the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in which CRAP alleges that the DNR exceeded its statutory authority by allowing Denali to construct a solid waste facility in Randolph County without the necessary permits. That case is scheduled to be heard in Cole County Circuit Court on Dec. 11.

Steele said state and county legislators and road commissioners have been invited. Several, she said, have already committed to attending.

“Because we’re just getting the word out, we haven’t heard back from some of the legislators yet, but we’re expecting a good turnout,” Steele said.

Steele invites all southwest Missouri residents who have concerns about the land-application of sludge in southwest Missouri to join her and other SLUDGE members for this free learning opportunity with attorney Stephen Jeffery. Time will be provided for a question and answer session, she said.

SLUDGE is an acronym for Stop Land Use Damaging our Ground and Environment.

On Oct. 29, Jeffery filed a lawsuit on behalf of SLUDGE in Cole County Circuit Court against the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The suit alleges that the DNR overstepped its statutory authority by allowing Denali to construct its storage basins and land-apply sludge without solid waste permits. More details will be forthcoming in an upcoming article in the Cassville Democrat.

An account has been opened at Security Bank for the deposit of donated funds designated to help with SLUDGE’s attorney fees. Checks for deposit may be made out to SLUDGE member, Taryn Tyler, with the word “SLUDGE” written in the subject line. Donations may be made at any of Security Bank’s three locations in Cassville, Exeter and Wheaton. Donations can also be made at the Nov. 10 chili supper in Fairview.

One comment

  1. Great write up as always Sheila. On behalf of all S.L.U.D.G.E members, we appreciate you and the Cassville Democrat very much.

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