Enviros call for Missouri landfill cleanups, including coal ash fills

The Sierra Club, Missouri Coalition for the Environment and Labadie Environmental Organization hosted a June 25 press conference urging protection of Missouri’s waterways from current and proposed waste landfills along the Mississippi, Meramec and Missouri rivers.

The press conference preceded two hearings set for Tuesday evening relating to landfill issues in Missouri, including one involving new coal ash storage space for Ameren Missouri’s coal-fired Labadie plant.

The groups stood in front of the elevated Mississippi River, demanding action to clean up current waste sites in the floodplains, and prevent the construction of dangerous and risky new landfills.

“Rivers keep Missouri’s heart beating, and it’s time to take a stand against Missouri’s biggest polluters so we can protect our water,” said Sara Edgar, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign organizer. “We rely on our rivers for jobs, commerce, agriculture and recreation, but also for life itself as they furnish our region with fresh drinking water. Upward of 60 percent of our drinking water in Missouri comes from the Missouri River alone. When toxic waste, from coal plants or otherwise, are dumped into the floodplains our health is put at risk.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will host a meeting the evening of June 25 at Pattonville High School to discuss the results of a radiological detecting airplane that flew over the West Lake Landfill in March. The EPA will also discuss the results from groundwater testing conducted in April.

The second hearing the evening of June 25 is a Missouri Public Service Commission hearing in Union regarding a proposal by Ameren Missouri to build a landfill to store coal ash waste in the Missouri River floodplain at Labadie in Franklin County. Ameren Missouri has similar proposals to build coal ash landfills at the Meramec coal-fired power plant in South St. Louis County and the Rush Island coal-fired power plant in Jefferson County, the club noted.

The Sierra Club and Labadie Environmental Organization on May 23 submitted a letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) demanding action to require groundwater monitoring at Ameren Missouri’s Labadie, Meramec and Rush Island coal-fired plants in the St. Louis area.

The Sierra Club, in a separate move, on May 15 slammed the 2013 integrated resource plan (IRP) of Ameren Missouri, saying the utility has done little serious work to find ways to get its “aging” coal fleet out of the picture. The 2013 IRP update was filed ahead of a full-blown 2014 IRP, which will be filed later on with the Missouri PSC. The Sierra Club is an intevenor in the 2013 update review case.

The Ameren Missouri coal plants are Meramec (833 MW net), Sioux (972 MW net), Rush Island (1,182 MW net) and Labadie (2,374 MW net).

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.