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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Missouri House leader has begun an investigation into a state program that subsidizes brownfield redevelopment in the wake of a newspaper report citing problems involving hazardous waste cleanup and demolition of a shopping mall.

Republican Rep. Jay Barnes of Jefferson City, chairman of a government accountability committee, wants answer from two state agencies about how tax credits valued at nearly $8 million were awarded for the project at Northwest Plaza in St. Louis County.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the state allowed a single company, Environmental Operations Inc. of St. Louis, to design an asbestos cleanup plan, manage the bid process, and hire itself for the work.

The company's owner denies wrongdoing. The mall developers and state officials declined comment.

 
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