MCE Sues EPA for Failure to Protect Missouri Lakes Under the Clean Water Act

PRESS RELEASE

Date: February 25, 2016

Contact: Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, alloyd [at] moenviron [dot] org, (314) 727-0600 x12

Elizabeth Hubertz, Attorney, Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, ejhubertz [at] wustl [dot] edu, (314) 935-8760

MCE Sues EPA for Failure to Protect Missouri Lakes Under the Clean Water Act

St. Louis, MO: The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) filed a lawsuit alleging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated its mandatory duty to issue effective nutrient standards under the Clean Water Act for lakes in Missouri. Nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, are among the biggest polluters of the nation’s waters, contributing to fish kills, algal blooms, and ultimately, the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. An algal bloom shut down the drinking water supply for the city of Toledo, Ohio in 2014. In Iowa, the Des Moines Water Works is suing polluters to prevent nutrients from entering the drinking water supply because of the expense to remove them.

“This is a straightforward case. Neither the state nor the federal government has developed acceptable water quality standards for nutrients in Missouri for lakes as required by the federal Clean Water Act,” said MCE Water Policy Coordinator, Alicia Lloyd. “This lawsuit is necessary to protect and improve Missouri’s valuable water resources,” Lloyd added.

MCE filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri against the EPA alleging it violated its mandatory duty to issue effective nitrogen and phosphorus standards for lakes in Missouri.  

In 2009, as a first step toward setting standards on all waters, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources adopted nutrient standards for lakes. Two years later, U.S. EPA disapproved the standards because the state did not demonstrate that the standards were based on sound scientific rationale and that they would protect aquatic life and recreational uses.

Once the state’s nutrient standards were disapproved by EPA, Missouri had 90 days to propose revised standards. Since Missouri did not propose new standards within that period, which ended in late 2011, EPA is required by law to issue appropriate standards. To this day, neither Missouri nor U.S. EPA has adopted new nutrient standards for lakes and, therefore, all but a handful of the state’s lakes remain unprotected against nutrient pollution.

On November 6th 2015, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment sent a Notice of Intent to File Suit (NOI) to the U.S. EPA as required by the Clean Water Act. The NOI gave EPA 60 days to fix the problem before any legal action would be filed. Since EPA did not take action to protect Missouri’s water resources and public health, MCE has filed this lawsuit. MCE is also a plaintiff in another suit filed against EPA in 2012 by the Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC), a group of environmental organizations working on pollution solutions for the Mississippi River, of which MCE is a member. That suit was filed in response to EPA’s refusal to set numeric nutrient criteria in the Mississippi River basin after MRC petitioned it to do so in 2008.

MCE is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization based in St. Louis, Missouri. MCE is represented by the Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic. Visit www.moenvironment.org for more information.

Example lake lacking numeric nutrient criteria: Creve Coeur Lake, Maryland Heights, MO Photo provided by an MCE member. 

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The St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project is a waste of taxpayer’s dollars

REBUTTAL

Brad Walker Rivers Director      August 17, 2015

This is MCE's response to an August 7, 2015 article in the Southeast Missourian titled Smith adamant floodway project needs to go forward.

First, let’s make it abundantly clear that the New Madrid Floodway (NMF) is a legally designated floodway. That last word “floodway” is immensely important. It means that the floodway is required to be used to lower flooding at the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River confluence. Landowners within the floodway were paid by the government to allow the flooding to occur, except for those at the southern end near a 1,500-foot levee opening because that area naturally floods during high water periods in the Mississippi River.

The 1,500-foot levee gap that Representative Smith complained about still being open in the August 7, 2015 article was intended to always remain open when the New Madrid Floodway was originally designed and constructed in the early 1930’s. The gap serves as a release valve for high water at the confluence. The local landowners’ effort to close it stems from the 1937 flood when the NMF was first used and has always been about stopping the floodway from being used and enriching a small group of people in the process.

The St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project that would close the levee gap epitomizes special interest influence in this country. It is a project with limited economic value – specifically focused exclusively on a very small group of farm families, including the family of one of the Mississippi River Commissioners – R.D. James, who farm in the southern end of the legally designated floodway. Unlike most water resources projects approved by Congress, this group will not even have to provide any money to cover a portion of the over $100 million project cost. Talk about welfare!

If the gap is closed, there is no doubt it will cause harm to species that normally thrive in the temporarily flooded southern portion of the NMF. There is no reasonable and viable way to mitigate those losses per conservation and wildlife agencies. But the closing of the gap will also create another change, the intensive development of the southern end of the NMF because of the elimination of the high river backwater flooding, which is a goal of the landowners. They hope/plan to develop to an extent that when the next time the NMF needs to be operated their economic loss will be so great that other areas, outside the NMF, will instead be sacrificed. For those landowners who have stubbornly promoted the project to close the gap this is a perfectly legitimate situation because they have never accepted the current reality of the NMF.

Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway before (left) and after(right) operation in May 2011

In one respect, we do have a level of understanding and sympathy for their position. The operation of the NMF has evolved into a highly violent activity through blowing up the levee with explosives, causing more problems and damage than it should.

Its activation method, which originally depended upon the levee naturally breaching, has never worked as designed and eventually required the formal addition of the explosives to breach the levee. Furthermore, over the last 80+ years the flood stage level at which the NMF is activated has been raised six feet by Congress and the Mississippi River Commission. Because of these decisions it was inevitable that this floodway was going to be controversial. There were not only damages within the NMF from the 2011 operation of the floodway, but millions of dollars of damages in areas outside of the floodway due to the delay in its operation.

Representative Smith’s overly optimistic and possibly disingenuous assertion that we should not worry because the Corps has stated that closing the gap will not “affect the floodway project and how they would activate the levees” is simply naive. After witnessing the State of Missouri’s efforts in 2011 in going to the Supreme Court to try to stop the operation of the NMF and landowners’ plans to increase development within the NMF if the gap is closed our concerns regarding the floodway project have only increased.

Instead of paying to close the gap and likely increasing damages when the next inevitable operation of the NMF is necessary (though not assured to actually happen), we should be using those funds to help pay for redesigning the operation and modifying the NMF. That new design should be based upon a natural overflowing weir within the levee that is activated by the river level, not by a bureaucratic decision to blow up the levee that can be challenged in court. The Corps has the knowledge of this method, which has been successfully used by them elsewhere.

For additional information on the New Madrid Floodway project read our blog article When is a Floodway, Not a Floodway?

EPA Proposes Fire Mitigation at West Lake Landfill 20 Years after Surface Fire in the North Quarry

PRESS RELEASE

Date: December 10, 2015  

Contact: Ed Smith, (314) 727-0600 ext. 14, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

St. Louis, MO: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 is requiring the financially responsible parties at the West Lake Landfill to implement plans for mitigating surface fires. This action follows a surface fire near the radioactive materials in October of 2015 and 20 years after a surface fire in the North Quarry that reached 800°F. The North Quarry surface fire occurred closer to the known areas of radioactive wastes than the ongoing smoldering fire in the South Quarry.

"Common-sense would have been for the EPA to do this in 1995 when a surface fire was reported to them in the North Quarry," said Ed Smith with MCE. "That is why we continue to support the bipartisan legislation in Congress to put the Army Corps of Engineers in charge of decision making at this site."

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has information on historic fire issues at the West Lake Landfill on its website, including the below picture. 

    

Missouri Foundation for Health Funds New Food Policy Coalition

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Melissa Vatterott, Food and Farm Coordinator, (314) 727-0600, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Date: December 8, 2015

St. Louis, MO: Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) has awarded Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) a 23-month $120,000 advocacy grant to lead the new St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (STLFPC).

Where food comes from, how it is grown, and the relationship between health and the environment are important concepts to MCE. MCE’s Food and Farm Coordinator Melissa Vatterott is raising awareness about the connections between agriculture, public health, and the environment. As the coordinating agency for the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, MCE will advocate for and advance policies that will address gaps in the St. Louis region’s capacity to deliver healthy, fresh, sustainable, and accessible local food, with a specific emphasis on targeting communities with limited access to such food. Missouri Foundation for Health’s policy portfolio prioritizes “increasing health equity for all Missourians,” which is something Vatterott anticipates the work of STLFPC will foster.

After the release of MCE’s St. Louis Regional Food Study a year ago, Vatterott conducted outreach to stakeholders for the first four months of 2015, bringing groups together to develop a set of policy initiatives and collaborative projects to address the food system needs of the St. Louis region.

“To effectively advocate for the health, environmental, social justice, and economic needs of the entire St. Louis region, it’s important to include organizations throughout the 100 mile radius of St. Louis,” Vatterott says.

Such a group has existed in St. Louis before, the St. Louis Food Policy Council, which began in 2010 and closed in 2012. The new group formed as a coalition in contrast to the former council in order to emphasize the collaboration of new stakeholders and new priorities, such as emphasizing local production within the food system.

Mary Bolling, Nutrition Program Associate at MU Extension and steering committee member of STLFPC explains, “Supporting our local farmers through STLFPC works to support improved health, lesson the environmental impact, and contribute to the local economy. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are most flavorful, most abundant, and least expensive. Locally grown food is often tastier and more nutrient dense because it is allowed to ripen longer due to the fact that it doesn't have to travel thousands of miles before arriving at the store.”

For more information, see the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition webpage (www.moenvironment.org/stlfoodpolicy).

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Federal Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Remove EPA Region 7 as Lead Jurisdiction at West Lake Landfill

PRESS RELEASE

Date: November 19, 2015

Contact: Ed Smith, (314) 727-0600 x14, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Federal Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Remove EPA Region 7 as Lead Jurisdiction at West Lake Landfill

St. Louis, MO: Senator Blunt (R) and Congresswoman Wagner (R) introduced legislation today to appoint the Army Corps of Engineers (Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program – FUSRAP) as the lead jurisdictional agency to handle the unauthorized dumping of radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill in 1973. Cosponsoring the legislation is Senator McCaskill (D) and Congressman Clay (D).

“It’s thanks to our federally elected officials that the Corps of Engineers is already involved at the West Lake Landfill in a support role,” said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “The Corps already has site familiarity that should lead to a smooth transition of jurisdiction if the bipartisan legislation becomes law.”  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 took over jurisdiction of the radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill in 1990. It took the EPA until 2008 to decide it would cap-and-leave the radioactive wastes forever at the unlined landfill. Public and political backlash to the decision led the EPA to reopen and reconsider its cap-and-leave decision in 2010. The EPA’s revaluation process is ongoing and it announced earlier this year that a proposed remedy would be announced before the end of 2016.

“This is a most wonderful and exciting day for all who have been and continue to be intimately involved in this environmental issue that affects many geographic communities. We are grateful to our elected officials for their listening ears and hearts and know that Congressional action will not be soon enough to get the Army Corp of Engineers FUSRAP on site,” said Sister Judy Bell with the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.

The Corps of Engineers cannot put forth its own independent decision at West Lake if it is put in charge after the EPA’s forthcoming decision is finalized. That’s why it’s important the Corps’ FUSRAP is put in charge legislatively as soon as possible.

The EPA’s handling of the radioactive wastes has been problematic. The following EPA Region 7 issues were shared with Missouri federally elected officials among others:

  1. EPA Region 7 was notified of a surface fire at the West Lake Landfill in 1995 yet it never considered a fire a threat to the radioactive materials in its 2008 decision to cap-and-leave the radioactive wastes forever.
  2. EPA Region 7 told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2001 that it would utilize a cap-and-leave decision at West Lake even though that decision was not made public until 2006.

 

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Missouri Coalition for the Environment Demands EPA Enforce the Clean Water Act

Date: November 9, 2015

Example lake: Long Branch Lake, Macon, MO, Photo credit: MCE

Contacts: 

  • Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri  Coalition for the Environment, alloyd [at] moenviron [dot] org,  (314) 727-0600 x12
  • Elizabeth Hubertz, Attorney, Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, (314) 935-8760

St. Louis, MO: It has been four years since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) rejected Missouri’s proposed nutrient standards for lakes, and neither the State of Missouri nor US EPA has taken action to promulgate new, effective standards. Friday, in order to remedy this failure, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) sent a Notice of Intent to File Suit (NOI) to US EPA, alleging violation of US EPA’s mandatory duty to issue effective standards when the state does not take action on its own.  

Nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, are among the biggest contributors to fish kills and algal blooms throughout Missouri and the nation. Nutrients contribute to the massive Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, which now spans over 6,400 square miles.

In 2009, Missouri proposed water quality standards that would have placed numeric limits on the amount of nutrients in Missouri’s lakes. However, in August 2011, US EPA rejected most of these standards, noting that the methods proposed by Missouri were not based on a sound scientific rationale and that Missouri had failed to demonstrate that the proposed standards would protect the waters for fishing and recreation.

Once US EPA disapproves a standard, Missouri has 90 days to correct the deficiencies. If Missouri doesn’t take action, US EPA must issue its own rules. But neither Missouri nor EPA has taken any concrete action and as of today, Missouri does not have nutrient standards for nearly all of its lakes.

“We want to see the protections of the Clean Water Act implemented in Missouri. The state had 90 days in 2011 to address nutrient pollution and here we are in 2015 without adequate, legal protections regulating the nutrient pollution entering our waterways,” said MCE Water Policy Coordinator, Alicia Lloyd.  

The federal Clean Water Act delegates to states the responsibility to assess the function of lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands and then to develop appropriate water quality standards to support those uses so they may supply communities with clean drinking water and maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems in our nation’s waters. While the enactment of the CWA in 1972 led to great strides in improving water quality, Missouri has yet to fully implement the law within its borders.

Although President Obama’s Clean Water Rule has captured public attention, it has little to do with these nutrient standards. They will apply to lakes that are already accepted by Missouri as waters of the U.S.  “This is a straightforward case. Neither the state nor the national government has developed acceptable water quality standards for nutrients in Missouri for lakes and other water bodies as required by the federal Clean Water Act. Doing so would be a great step towards thorough protections of our abundant and irreplaceable water resources in Missouri” said Lloyd.

Once an NOI is filed, the responding party has 60 days to respond before a lawsuit can be filed. In this case, MCE can file suit as soon as January 5th.

MCE is represented by the Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic. 

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MCE Honors Environmental Heroes at Grassroots Gala

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:  October 12, 2015

Contact:  Heather B. Navarro, Executive Director

MISSOURI COALITION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT PRESENTS 46TH ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS AT THE GRASSROOTS GALA

Missouri Coalition for the Environment will celebrate its Grassroots Gala “From Street to Skyline” on Friday, October 23rd at 6:30pm at Rooster on South Grand Boulevard with drinks and desserts following on the Dickmann Building Rooftop, home of MCE headquarters.

The Grassroots Gala celebrates MCE’s 46-year history of protecting and restoring the environment. The gala will feature a special presentation by local author Dean Klinkenberg entitled “The Mississippi River in Song: Floods and Monsters.” Klinkenberg  is on a mission to explore the rich history and diverse cultures of the Mississippi River Valley, from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.  His talks often sample from songs about the river to help illustrate the varied ways to relate to the Mississippi. He is the author of the Frank Dodge series of mysteries and the Mississippi Valley Traveler guidebooks; he also maintains a guide to the towns of the Mississippi River Valley at www.MississippiValleyTraveler.com

The evening’s awards ceremony will be emceed by Veronique LaCapra, KWMU Science Reporter. Her reports on science research, environment, health, and other topics are heard on stations across Missouri and Illinois, and nationally on NPR. 

MCE will present the Kay and Leo Drey Environmental Stewardship Award to Bill Davit, Naturalist and Prairie Restorationist for his work developing the Shaw Nature Reserve and the Litzinger Road Ecology Center prairies. The Barry Commoner Science in Environmental Service Award will be presented to Susan Nagel, PhD at the University of Missouri School of Medicine for her groundbreaking work in identifying the hazards of hydraulic fracking. The Susan Flader Education and Advocacy Award will be presented to Joe Pitts of the James River Basin Partnership, serving southwest Missouri, for his leadership in environmental education and advocacy on behalf of Missouri’s rivers.

The gala is sponsored by Kay Drey, Wayne and Jane Goode, Laura Cohen, Alice Geary Sgroi, Nicholas Kappas, Larry O’Reilly, Al Van Amburg and Jane Matoesian,  USAgain, O’Reilly Auto Parts and the Healthy Planet.

Rooster is a member of the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance and is located at 3150 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63118. The Dickmann Building is located across the street at 3115 South Grand. Tickets are $100 apiece and can be purchased by visiting the MCE website, www.moenvironment.org/gala or calling the office at 314.727.0600 x. 15. All proceeds benefit the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, working to protect and restore Missouri’s environment.

 

Worlds of Fun Polluting Missouri River

Date: September 17, 2015

Contacts:

  • Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment
    (314) 727-0600 x. 12, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Bob Menees, Attorney, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
    (314) 231-4181, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Lia Comerford,  Staff Attorney, Earthrise Law Center
    (503)768-6823This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Environmental Group Reveals Worlds of Fun is Polluting the Missouri River

 

Kansas City, MO: The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) has sent a Notice of Intent to File Suit to Cedar Fair and its subsidiaries for significant and persistent violations of the Clean Water Act at Worlds of Fun, an amusement park in Kansas City. Through documents obtained from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), MCE has discovered that over the past five years, Worlds of Fun has violated the terms of its federal pollution discharge permit in at least 58 of the past 60 months. These violations include at least 159 exceedances of limits for five pollutants. The pollution created by the facility flows into two tributaries of the Missouri River, including Shoal Creek.

 

“The Missouri River is one of the greatest resources this State has, serving as the largest source of drinking water for Missourians,” said Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator for MCE. “There is no excuse for a facility of this size to be cutting corners at the expense of the communities who depend on the River,” she continued. MCE is a statewide environmental organization founded in 1969 to protect and restore the environment.

 

Specifically, the letter details exceedances of permit limits for chlorine, oil and grease, copper, pH, and total suspended solids from the facility. In addition, Worlds of Fun has been illegally discharging blue dye in violation of its permit and has been failing to adequately monitor and report its pollution discharges. MCE is represented by Great Rivers Environmental Law Center and Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark Law School. Bob Menees, an attorney with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center representing MCE, said “The facility was given three years to meet the final requirements in its permit, but it has made no improvements, including failing to construct sufficient wastewater treatment facilities to reduce the levels of copper and chlorine it discharges into the river.”

 

Worlds of Fun is a subsidiary of Cedar Fair, which operates 14 other parks nationwide, according to its website. Lia Comerford of Earthrise has worked with local groups to address water pollution violations at other facilities across the country, including other amusement parks. “While problems such as these are not uncommon, the duration of time that these problems have persisted is unusual and in flagrant violation of state and federal water rules.”

 

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri.  Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love.  Its web address is: www.moenvironment.org.

 

Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health.  Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.

 

Earthrise Law Center is the environmental law clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon

 

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Radioactivity Found Offsite Near West Lake Landfill

PRESS RELEASE

Date: September 3, 2015

Contact: Ed Smith, (314) 727-0600, esmith [at] moenviron [dot] org  

Radioactivity Found Offsite Near West Lake Landfill

St. Louis, MO: Attorney General Chris Koster released expert reports today related to his lawsuit against Republic Services and its smoldering West Lake Landfill. Particularly concerning is the discovery of radioactive materials in offsite vegetation. The EPA found radioactive materials in previously unidentified areas when testing for the proposed isolation barrier last year, which makes this the second test in a year to find radioactivity in previously unidentified areas.

“This is the second time in the last year that radioactivity has been found in places that were supposedly clean,” said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “It further demonstrates the need for President Obama or our federally elected officials to put the Army Corps of Engineers in charge immediately so the site can be properly characterized and remediated in a timely manner,” he continued.

The reports also say the smoldering fire is beyond the barrier meant to contain the fire to the south quarry and moving in the direction of the radioactive materials. A Republic Services spokesperson told the Post-Dispatch, “This will be life for the next five years” regarding the odors and the smoldering fire and only in the context of the south quarry. That means at least 9 years of people living next to the smoldering landfill fire and likely longer should the smoldering fire move into the north quarry.

“It is past time for Republic Services or the government to provide a voluntary buyout for people living within a one mile radius of the landfill,” said Kathy Bell who is a nearby resident. “We are being choked to death at night and throughout the day by this nasty landfill and we cannot take it any longer, let alone five or more years,” she added.

 

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Missouri Coalition for the Environment Urges County Executive and County Council to Save Sylvan Springs Park

For More Information Contact:

Heather Navarro, Executive Director                                  Kathleen Henry, President

Missouri Coalition for the Environment                              Great Rivers Environmental Law Center

3115 So. Grand Blvd.                                                                      319 No. Fourth St., Ste. 800

St. Louis, MO 63118                                                                        St. Louis, MO 63102

(314) 727-0600 ext. 10                                                                  (314) 231-4181

hnavarro [at] moenviron [dot] org                                          khenry [at] greatriverslaw [dot] org

www.moenvironment.org                                                            www.greatriverslaw.org

September 1, 2015

Missouri Coalition for the Environment Urges County Executive and County Council to Save Sylvan Springs Park

On behalf of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE), Great Rivers Environmental Law Center has written to County Executive Steve Stenger urging the County to save Sylvan Springs Park.  MCE’s letter follows Senator Claire McCaskill’s letter sent to County Executive Stenger last week urging him to sell off the property.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment has long been an active watchdog of County and state Parks and says this sale may be illegal as the County accepted the Park and used it as a Park for 65-years, investing millions of taxpayer funds dedicated to parks into the maintenance and improvement of the Park.

Furthermore, the use of this Park is not a long-term solution to the Veterans’ Affairs’ problem of running out of cemetery space, but it will take the Park from County residents forever.

This is not the first federal agency to try to take the Park.  In 1969, the Coast Guard attempted to buy 8 acres adjacent to it, but County Executive Larry Roos stood up for the citizens and County Parks and rebuffed the efforts, and the County bought those acres and made them part of Sylvan Springs Park.

“The County should recognize this is not a sustainable long-term plan and the federal government will come back for the rest of the park when it runs out of room next time,” said Heather Navarro, Executive Director of MCE.  “The County should preserve all of its parks as they are vital to our region.  Two-thirds of the 38-acres of Sylvan Springs Park proposed for sale are covered with large oak trees and other hardwood species, and some of those oaks are probably 200 years old.”

“The federal government sold the land to the County for use as a Park and the County accepted it and used it as a Park for 65-years,” said Kathleen Henry, President of Great Rivers.  “The County should not give it up now.”

Sylvan Springs Park was one of the first County Parks and has a rich history, including hosting performances by Judy Garland and Bob Hope in World War II.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri.  Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love.  Its web address is: www.moenvironment.org.

Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health.  Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.

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