Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster visited the city’s Palestine East neighborhood to announce a new legal action after multiple complaints about gasoline fumes.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has done tests confirming that the Inner City Oil Company Inc. gas station owned by Zill, LLC on 31st Street near Cleveland Avenue is responsible for leaking gasoline fumes into the air.
The fumes filling the air in this neighborhood is preventing businesses like Smaxx restaurant down the corner from opening up.
Owners Brandon and Tiara Dixon explained the situation to Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver II and Koster as did they a walking tour of the area.
In August, Koster sued Zill after the company failed to implement a work plan it filed Feb. 20 to address gasoline leaks from underground storage tanks at Inner City Oil.
Koster’s office said Zill has still not completed the approved corrective action, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources detected additional gasoline fumes over the weekend.
Koster has filed for a preliminary injunction Tuesday to require Zill to either implement its emergency response plan following an underground petroleum release from Zill’s Kansas City service station or cease operations.
“If there were a gas station that was leaking onto the Country Club Plaza, if they were clearing out the restaurant at Capital Grill, it would take about a day to fix the problem, there is no reason why there should be a type of a double standard in this community. All businesses are important,” Koster said.
Cleaver said the gas station inaction is unacceptable.
“If this continues to go unabated, they’re going to lose thousands and thousands of dollars, not to mention the fact that I would be scared to death to light a match walking down this street, there’s a certain spot half a block down where it seems it might be the worst spot of all. I dare anybody who owns this place or works there and light a match,” Cleaver said.
Koster says he wants the judge to order the gas station owner to complete cleaning up the contamination, provide alternative housing where needed and take any additional actions needed to protect residents in the area.
The leaks in the neighborhood were detected in 2006.
Andres Gutierrez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.