Group Appeals Court Decision on Renewable Energy Standard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 June 25, 2015

Contact: Henry Robertson, (314) 231-4181, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ed Smith, (314) 705-4975, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Group Appeals Renewable Energy Standard Circuit Court Decision

St. Louis, MO: Seven years after voter approval, the effort to fully implement Missouri's Renewable Energy Standard (RES) continued this week when the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE), Missouri Solar Applications, LLC, and Thomas J. Sager appealed a Circuit Court decision denying an attempt to have the original Public Service Commission (PSC) RES rule implemented.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) stripped the local sourcing provision from the PSC's original rule. Local sourcing would have required investor-owned utilities to provide renewable energy generated in Missouri, or delivered to Missouri through transmission from neighboring states, to consumers in order for it to count toward the RES. The case will now go to the Missouri Supreme Court.

 “Missouri voters voted overwhelmingly for renewable energy in Missouri,” said plaintiff Tom Sager.  “Missouri legislators, against the will of the voters, seek to illegally obstruct the development of renewable energy in Missouri.  This obstructionism cannot be tolerated.”

JCAR’s actions currently allow investor-owned utilities to meet the RES by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) from far away states that do not directly benefit Missouri’s economy or environment as intended by voters.

"The PSC read the law and decided it meant that renewable energy must be generated in Missouri or at least be consumed here,” said Henry Robertson, the lead attorney with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center. “The utilities went crying to JCAR and got the legislature to undermine the will of the voters. It was not JCAR's job to undo the work of the PSC and deny Missourians the benefit of the law."

###

Legal Documents: 

Bridgeton Landfill Fire/West Lake Landfill News

 

FREE ---- YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS MEETING 

WHEN:  Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: International Union of Operating Engineers - 3449 Hollenburg Dr., Bridgeton, MO 63044

The next West Lake Landfill public meeting welcomes several experts from near and far, including: Bob Alvarez, who served in the US Dept. of Energy under President Bill Clinton. Most recently Bob Alvarez has been working on the Plutonium mess at Hanford, Washington. More on Bob Alvarez here: http://www.ips-dc.org/staff/bob

Dr. Bob Criss from Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Criss has challenged EPA Region 7's claim that it's only "leached barium sulfate" at the West Lake Landfill. More on Dr. Criss here: http://eps.wustl.edu/people/bob_criss

Peter Anderson, who has worked on landfill issues for much of his career. More on Peter Anderson here: http://www.competitivewaste.org/staff.htm

You can RSVP on Facebook.

Read the latest on West Lake Landfill from nuclear weapons waste expert, Robert Alverez.

Trenching Plan Under Fire

The October government shut down delayed steps to investigate the possiblity of whether a trench can be constructed to block the advance of the subsurface landfill fire at the Bridgeton Landfill near Earth City. The plan for the trench is the latest concept to prevent the underground fire from reaching the radioactive nuclear weaponse wastes which are in the northern portion of the landfill, closest to St. Charles Rock Road. 

MCE is raising concerns about the safety of the plan. The proposed plan includes clearing the site of shrubs and grasses which have been growing on the radioactive portion of the site for decades, helping to prevent the soil from washing away or blowing in the wind. Disturbance of the vegetation is a concern because some of the radioactivity is at the surface on the site.

 The latest from the St. Louis American.

Here's KWMU's story.

And one from the Republic in Columbus, Indiana.

And information about the County's role from KMOX

And KMOX on the testing 1 and the AP 2.

Amendment 7 is a Dead End

Thank you to everyone who helped defeat Amendment 7!

One thing all Missourians can get behind is the ability to get from one place to another safely. Whether the commute is twenty minutes or two hours, our livelihoods depend on us being able to get our families, our employees, and our goods from one place to another. As anyone on a road trip knows, there are many routes from A to B. This August, we will be asked to vote on Amendment 7, one proposal to address the state’s transportation needs – a constitutional amendment to impose a ¾ cent sales tax to pay for highway and transportation projects, the largest tax increase in Missouri’s history.

Read more: Amendment 7 is a...

Draft Budget Contains Funding to Transfer National Scenic Riverways

Special thanks to our allies at Missouri Parks Assoc.

UPDATE: The House passed the budget with the $6 million appropriation. We must now contact Missouri senators who will consider the proposed budget next.

(Jefferson City) -- The House Budget Committee this week is considering a proposed appropriation of $6 million from "surplus revenue fund" and whatever else is needed from the Park Sales Tax for operation and maintenance of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) in the event this national park is transferred to the state, as requested in other bills currently under consideration in the Missouri General Assembly and the U.S. Congress.                                     

 

Transfer of the ONSR to the state would mean the loss of some $8 million in annual federal expenditures in the region and saddle the state park system with equivalent annual expenses and an additional $32 million backlog in deferred maintenance.

Surplus funds may be available this year, but they will not likely be available in subsequent years, resulting in a massive drain on state park funds with negative consequences on other units of the state park system.

 

Kirkwood Republican Representative Rick Stream heads the House Budget Committee which is expected to meet Wednesday, March 12.

 

For more information, see the this news article and consider the following:
  • Missourians, like all Americans, overwhelmingly support their national parks, as demonstrated by 95 percent approval rating in recent surveys; we are proud to have such a national treasure as the Riverways in the Ozarks and appreciate that it is operated at no cost to the state.
  • The designation as a national park annually attracts 1.3-1.5 million people from across America seeking out Ozark National Scenic Riverways for family vacations.
  • The national park provides a substantial economic boost, estimated at $65 million annually, for south central Missouri communities and small businesses catering to lodging, canoe rental, food service, groceries, and gas. Nearly 90 percent of this comes from non-local visitors attracted to this famous national river. Operated by the state this amount would likely be much less.
  • Transfer to the state would leave Missouri taxpayers saddled with substantial new expenses each year. The ONSR operating budget and special project funds total some $8 million per year, and the park has a $32 million backlog in deferred maintenance.
  • Missouri State Parks is still struggling with the loss of about twenty percent of its staff during the recent economic downturn, the park sales tax is inadequate to rebuilt staff capacity, and the system is saddled with a backlog of nearly $400 million in deferred maintenance and other priority infrastructure projects. It would be greatly stressed by management responsibility for the Riverways and its other units would inevitably suffer.
  • The National Park Service has operated the Riverways for nearly fifty years and its proposed new management plan is intended to provide additional staff and funds to deal in a reasonable and balanced way with problems that have developed there in recent years. It deserves our support to make the Ozark National Scenic Riverways the very best it can be.

Read the bill here

 

 

Clean Energy Transition is Happening Now

Letter to the Editor by Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director

Printed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on June 14, 2015

Peabody to slash 250 jobs, including 50 in St. Louis" (June 9) underscores the fact that while some continue to deny the scientific reality of climate change, the economic realities show us that Missouri can no longer afford to be in a state of denial about global climate change.

Clearly the U.S. and the world is moving toward a clean, safe and reliable energy economy that will depend much more on renewables than on polluting fossil fuels like coal. This shift is improving public health by decreasing our dependency on dirty fossil fuels, while helping Missouri prevent a dangerously warming future filled with massive floods like in 2011 and massive droughts like in 2012, where all 114 counties were declared disaster areas by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Our homes, livelihood and infrastructure are at stake, and the good news is we have the tools and technology to respond now.

The costs of warming that are already being felt will hit future generations with much more devastating force unless we take responsible action today. That’s why Sen. Claire McCaskill needs to protect the Environmental Protection Agency from legislative attacks while it implements the Clean Power Plan, which for the first time will limit the emission of carbon dioxide pollution from power plants.

 

MCE Comments: Landfill Company Failing to Protect Public

To DNR: Public Safety Must Be the Highest Priority at the West Lake/Bridgeton Landfill

Earlier this summer Republic Services, the owner of a landfill in north St. Louis County where an underground fire continues to advance toward decades-old radioactive nuclear weapons waste that lies 1,000 feet away, submitted an amended plan to address the fire to the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources.  The Missouri Coalition for the Environment submitted comments Wednesday, August 28,criticizing the Republic Services plan as inadequate to protect public health and safety. MCE further requested that Republic Services  be removed from the decision making about actions to be taken in this growing emergency and reiterated its call for the complete and careful removal of the radioactive wastes from the West Lake Landfill.

The West Lake Landfill is a superfund site containing radioactive nuclear weapons waste from the Manhattan project, as well as hazardous industrial wastes. For more information on the site's history click here.

Read MCE's August comment letter here.

Read Republic's 8-14 Revised Contingency Plan here on the MDNR's West Lake/Bridgeton Landfill Reports page under Archives/Weekly Reports submitted by Republic Services for Bridgeton Landfill. (The document is large and slow to open.)

 

Expert Robert Alvarez: Superfund Wrong for West Lake Landfill

OutNow

November 21, 2013

 

Corps of Engineers Program Needed for Nuclear Weapons Wastes


St. Louis, MO – Robert Alvarez, senior advisor in the Department of Energy under President Clinton, released a report on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not properly evaluated the risks of the West Lake Landfill and why the Army Corps of Engineers is best suited to address the issue moving forward.


“This is not your ordinary landfill,” said Robert Alvarez. “Leaving radioactive wastes at West Lake has turned it into a de facto nuclear weapons wastes dump, which would violate all modern day guidelines for proper disposal of radioactive wastes.”


The Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) under the Corps of Engineers was specifically designed to remediate radioactive wastes related to the United States nuclear weapons program. The radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill were a product of nuclear weapons work by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works in downtown St. Louis, beginning in 1942. The Corps is remediating every site in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, except the West Lake Landfill.


“It is reasonable that people want the federal program specifically designed to address the legacy of nuclear weapons radioactive wastes be put in charge of the nuclear weapons radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill,” said Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “The time is now for our federally elected officials to put the Corps of Engineers in charge of West Lake.”

 

Read the latest on West Lake Landfill from nuclear weapons waste expert, Robert Alverez.


###

MCE Applauds Federally Elected Officials’ Support for Corps of Engineers at the Radioactive West Lake Landfill

St. Louis, MO – Senator Blunt, Senator McCaskill, Congressman Clay and Congresswoman Wagner sent a letter on February 28, 2014, to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7. The letter requested:

  • That the EPA contract directly with the Army Corps of Engineers to handle any and all remediation needed at the site.
  • That the Corps be involved with the development of the EPA’s forthcoming Record of Decision.

Public reaction to the letter on the West Lake Landfill Facebook Page has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s now up to EPA Region 7 to give the community and its elected officials what we want, and that is the involvement of the Corps of Engineers,” said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “The Corps has a positive track record at sites around St. Louis contaminated with the same radioactive wastes as those illegally dumped at the West Lake Landfill in 1973.”

MCE applauds the request from federally elected officials. MCE continues to support the Corps of Engineers being officially put in charge at the site.

###

Corps Lawsuit May 2014

Environmental Groups Sue Army Corps of Engineers

chevron for web

Last Thursday, May 22nd, MCE and 5 other environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the Upper Mississipp River System. The suit challenges the Corps' reliance on an outdated Environmental Impact Statement for its operation and maintenance (O & M) activities on the River designed to maintain the system's 9-foot navigation channel.

This lawsuit does not seek to halt navigation on the Upper Mississippi River Navigation System.  Rather, it seeks to compel the Corps to re-examine the methods it is using to maintain the navigation system so that it can develop and implement less environmentally destructive operation and maintenance (O&M) actions.  Alternative O&M actions that would cause less damage to the environment exist, including:  use of alternative water level management regimes that mimic the system’s natural hydrologic regime; and reconnecting portions of the river channel to its floodplain and backwaters.

As part of this suit we are seeking to enjoin construction of new river training structures until the Corps completes the required environmental review.  While these structures promote self-scouring of the navigation channel, extensive peer-reviewed science shows that they have increased flood heights in the middle Mississippi River by 10 to 15 feet, creating very real threats to public safety.  Construction of new river training structures will add to the already significant risk to river communities and navigation can readily continue without the construction of new structures. Removing or modifying targeted river training structures could significantly improve public safety by reducing flood heights during major floods. 

The National Wildlife Federation and many partner groups have worked for years to try to convince the Corps to voluntarily carry out the requested environmental review, to adopt a moratorium on the construction of new river training structures pending completion of the review, and to initiate a National Academy of Sciences study on the effect of river training structures.  We are filing now because the Corps is poised to construct major new complexes of river training structures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to flooding. 

Levee District Commissioners from 5 different Illinois Levee Districts, the Shawnee School District (Illinois), the Shawnee Valley Water District (Illinois), and the Wolf Lake Sanitary Corporation (Illinois) have also called on the Corps to adopt a moratorium on the construction of new river training structures and to initiate a National Academy of Sciences study on the effect of river training structures.

Click here to read the complaint.

 

Middle Mississippi River Among America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2014

New levee threatens wildlife habitat and public safety

Washington, D.C.- American Rivers named the Middle Mississippi River among America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2014 today, shining a national spotlight on the threat a new levee at the New Madrid Floodway poses to wildlife habitat and downstream flood safety. “The America’s Most Endangered Rivers report is a call to action to save rivers that are at a critical tipping point,” said Eileen Fretz of American Rivers. “Cutting off the Mississippi River’s connection with its floodplain would destroy critical fish and wildlife habitat and put communities at greater risk of flooding. The project is completely at odds with modern floodplain management.”

NewMadridFloodwayFigure 3. The Swollen Mississippi River backs up through the gap into the New Madrid Floodway. The St Johns Bayou gravity gate through the set-back levee is at the left. (Photo by David Conrad)

The Middle Mississippi is threatened by a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cut off the last connection between the Mississippi River and its natural backwater habitat in the State of Missouri. The Corps proposes constructing a new 1,500 foot levee across the gap at the bottom of the New Madrid Floodway. In addition to allowing the river to sustain vital habitat, the floodway serves as a “relief valve” allowing floodwaters to spread out on the floodplain instead of threatening downstream communities like Cairo, IL.

“The levee closure project is an unjustified handout to a small group of landowners who farm within this essential floodway. Its completion would only serve to benefit their bottom line, while making it politically harder to operate the floodway during an inevitable future flood,” according to Brad Walker, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Rivers and Sustainability Director.

American Rivers and its partners called on the Army Corps of Engineers to abandon the New Madrid Levee project, and urged the Environmental Protection Agency to veto the project if the Corps continues to move it forward.

The Mississippi River once experienced seasonal floods that spread out over its floodplain, creating a mosaic of backwaters, wetlands, and sloughs. These periodic floods were the driving force behind robust and diverse ecosystems that were home to an amazing array of fish, birds, and wildlife. The Missouri “bootheel”, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, was once one of the nation’s largest and richest wetland areas.

The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report is a list of rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming months will determine the rivers’ fates. Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with Wild and Scenic designations, and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.

America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2014

#1 San Joaquin River (California) Threat: Water diversions, dams, and levees

#2 Upper Colorado River (Colorado) Threat: Water diversions

#3 Middle Mississippi River (Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky) Threat: Outdated Flood Management

#4 Gila River (New Mexico) Threat: New water diversions

#5 San Francisquito Creek (California) Threat: Dam

#6 South Fork Edisto River (South Carolina) Threat: Excessive water withdrawals

#7 White River (Colorado) Threat: Oil and gas drilling

#8 White River (Washington) Threat: Outdated dam and fish passage facilities

#9 Haw River (North Carolina) Threat: Polluted runoff

#10 Clearwater/Lochsa Rivers (Idaho) Threat: Industrialization of a Wild and Scenic River corridor

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Login Form