Lafayette Consolidated Government hasn't been reimbursed for $1.2 million taxpayers spent extinguishing an underground fire at a privately-owned Scott landfill a year ago, and has sued the landowner for the money, our media partners at The Advocate are reporting.
But the lawsuit states that representatives with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said they would help recoup Lafayette's costs but have not done so. When the Advocate asked LDEQ Press Secretary Gregory Langley about that, he told them that LCG never submitted a request for help with the bill.
And, when The Advocate made a public records request for records of that alleged request to LDEQ, LCG attorneys said there were no documents responsive to that request.
To read the Advocate's whole story with all the details, click here.
In the lawsuit, LCG states that Mayor-President Josh Guillory signed an emergency declaration regarding the December 2021 fire after it was still smoldering after days of burning. Under that declaration, LCG sent contractors to the site to move dirt to cover up the burning tires and, it was hoped, put out the fire.
While they were there, they also dug a detention pond on the property, the suit states.
The suit gives a long history of the site, going back to 1987, which alleges a pattern of neglect from the owners and operators of the landfill. LCG claims that, on several occasions, those owner/operators failed to follow through on promises they made to state officials about how the site would be maintained. The December 2021 incident wasn't the first tire fire at the site, the suit claims; there was another fire there in 2018.
Here's the lawsuit, if you'd like to read it for yourself: