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Craig Post: Temporary restraining order filed by Attorney General Chris Koster's office is litigation posturing.
Craig Post: Temporary restraining order filed by Attorney General Chris Koster's office is litigation posturing.

Black Oak owner: Restraining order unnecessary

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Black Oak Organics LLC and CHP Environmental Inc. co-owner Craig Post has responded to a restraining order by Attorney General Chris Koster's office. On Nov. 28, Koster filed a temporary restraining order against the companies' composting facility in Verona.

At the time, Post, who said he had not yet read the terms of the restraining order when contacted by Springfield Business Journal, declined to comment.

In a statement provided to SBJ on Dec. 6, Post said the facility in question has been in a remediation process since 2009, making the restraining order unnecessary. He noted that Black Oak and CHP have a pending construction permit for the facility that was approved prior to litigation, and it was the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that suggested the companies should apply for it.

Koster's office filed suit in June 2010 against the companies, about a year after the DNR revoked the companies' permit to operate its composting facility, which recycled food and construction waste for sale as landscaping mulch and erosion control.

The Missouri Clean Water Commission, a division of the DNR, in November 2009 referred the case to the attorney general's office after inspections between 2007 and 2009 alleged that storm-water runoff flowing over the Verona facility's compost piles, sawdust piles and asphalt shingles became contaminated with organic matter and eventually discharged into Honey Creek, where it could get into area groundwater, according to a news release from Koster's office.

When the Clean Water Commission passed the case to the attorney general's office, it stipulated that the office attempt to negotiate during a 30-day period before pursuing litigation, Post said in the statement.

Post said the companies submitted a resolution letter to the attorney general proposing a smaller facility and offering to relocate, but he noted the office chose to pursue a suit.

The lawsuit - which alleges that the companies, owned by Post, of Springfield, and Alan Chappell, of Republic, violated the state's clean water law - seeks a civil penalty of $10,000 per day for each violation of the law and reimbursement of court costs.

"The temporary restraining order that was reported on Nov. 28 is just more of the same - continued litigation posturing that has been going on for the last two years," Post said in the statement.

Post said this morning the companies contend the allegations concerning the facility are false. He referred further questions regarding the companies' position on the lawsuit to his attorney, Jim Arneson, who declined to comment.

Arneson noted that a preliminary injunction date has been set for Dec. 13 at the Lawrence County Circuit Clerk's office.

The restraining order prohibits the defendants from operating the composting facility, a solid waste disposal area or a solid waste processing facility until further court orders are made.

In the statement, Post objected to use of the phrases "solid waste disposal area" and "solid waste processing facility," as he contends that the companies do not provide those services.

Post said this morning that since the Verona facility's license was revoked in 2009, remediation work has consisted of bringing the site back to its original condition before the facility was established, including removal of materials and not performing any composting work at the site.

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