When it comes to putting out the fire at the Harrelson landfill, the owner says the City of Shreveport should pay, but the mayor says it's the owner's responsibility.
On June 8, 2014, Louisiana DEQ announced the landfill must close.
But before closing procedures can begin, the underground fire that's been burning since 2010 has to be put out.
Even though landfill owner Michael Harrelson says he's submitted fire mitigation plans to DEQ since 2011, Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says the plans were denied for two reasons: "It relied on the City of Chreveport to provide services that they were either incapable or not able to provide,” says Browning. “Secondly, I think the plan should require third parties coming in and assisting the Harrelson group."
Browning says workers who are certified to deal with hazardous situations, certified to work in an underground environment and certified in using the heavy equipment should be hired to put the fire out.
Harrelson and the mayor are at odds about who should pick up the tab.
"The root cause is a water main that wasn't supposed to be under the landfill, that the city agreed that they would pay a right of way on, but instead they said that it was abandoned in multiple documentations and it exploded," says Harrelson.
"That's complete B.S.” says Mayor Cedric Glover. “We are aggressively fighting those particular tenants of his lawsuits, have not sought to settle or resolve anything away."
Harrelson says he's already spent $3 million fighting the fire, and he'll have to absorb the cost of the new mitigation plan.
That's why he's suing the city.
Glover says DEQ bears some of the blame too.
"They were given a zoning designation as non-conforming, for 29 acres,” says Glover. “They expanded to over 70, that zoning was never granted, and because that zoning was never granted, DEQ never ever should've permitted them to be able to operate."
Harrelson's permit expires in October and DEQ says it will not be renewed.