October 29, 2019
For decades, West Lake Landfill in St. Louis County has invited national scrutiny due to the large amount of radioactive waste contained inside and the harm it continues to cause to the surrounding community. Activists have organized in an effort to raise awareness of the Landfill’s dangers and to secure a long term solution. They have met with strong resistance by Landfill owner and operator Republic Services, a company whose annual profits total more than a billion dollars.
On March 31, 2017, Earth Defense Coalition, a group committed to climate and environmental justice, staged a protest meant to bring attention to the radioactive waste buried at West Lake and the encroaching underground fire at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill, also owned and operated by Republic Services.
At the behest of Republic Services, the City of Bridgeton responded by bringing 32 separate charges against eleven Earth Defense Coalition members. On October 18, 2019, after a two and a half year fight, our clients were vindicated when the St. Louis County Associate Circuit Court granted our motions to dismiss with respect to all 32 charges.
Since 2014, ArchCity Defenders has defended approximately 50 individuals engaged in protest. From the movement that grew out of Ferguson, the West Lake Landfill, to the acquittal of Officer Jason Stockley, ArchCity’s defense has ensured the dismissal or acquittal of the vast majority of protest-related municipal and criminal charges. Additionally, ArchCity has filed civil rights lawsuits challenging malicious prosecution and police brutality on behalf of many protesters whose basic rights were violated.
ArchCity Defenders joins Earth Defense Coalition, Just Moms STL, and community members in their ongoing advocacy in calling for a safe and permanent solution to radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill and surrounding area.
Z Gorley, Communications Director, ArchCity Defenders