MCE Defends Interests of 66% of Missouri Voters

August 19, 2013


            Today, attorneys for Great Rivers Environmental Law Center filed suit against four Missouri governmental entities, alleging they all played a role in thwarting the proper implementation of the state’s Renewable Energy Standard law, passed by voters in the 2008 election as Proposition C. The suit was filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

            The renewable energy law requires the state’s investor-owned utilities, including Ameren Missouri, Kansas City Power & Light, and Empire District Electric Company, to ramp up their use of renewable energy to at least 15% of the power they sell to their Missouri customers by 2021. Plaintiffs in the suit contend that Missouri’s Secretary of State failed to publish key provisions of the regulation, leaving it unclear whether utilities are actually required to build new renewable energy generation, or whether they can comply instead by buying pieces of paper called “renewable energy credits” from solar and wind projects in faraway places like California or Canada.

            “It’s a critical issue because if utilities aren’t required to deliver renewable energy to Missouri, the law is largely meaningless. Missouri isn’t getting new jobs or the new renewable energy that should be built here,” said Vaughn Prost of Missouri Solar Applications, a solar installation company in Jefferson City and one of the Plaintiffs in the suit. “These policies are working in 28 other states, and there’s no reason it can’t work well in Missouri too.”


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Polluter Seeking Override of Governor's Veto

This summer, Governor Jay Nixon vetoed HB 650, an omnibus bill which contained an attempt by special interests to do big favors to one of our biggest polluters, Doe Run. HB 650 would have capped punitive or exemplary damages to claims from Doe Run, operator of the nation’s largest lead smelter and lead mining/milling operations in Missouri. An nearly identical bill, House Bill 28, passed and omitted this toxic threat.

Now Doe Run is pressing lawmakers to override the Governor's veto.

An override of HB650 would weaken Missourians rights to defend their health and their property. To take action, call your lawmakers and urge them to reject Doe Run's request.

2013 General Assembly Review

In 2capitolsm013, more than 80 Senate Bills and 80 House Bills reached the governor’s desk, many of which were “truly agreed to and finally passed” the final week of session.

 When the dust cleared, a few special interests wheedled some erosive measures into our state environmental laws while conservationists successfully fended off the most aggressive attacks. 

 On the Omnibus

 Again this year, many environmental provisions were rolled into what is known as an “omnibus” bill. With ten minutes left in the session, lawmakers passed the Dept. of Natural Resources omnibus bill that contained language that originated in House Bill 650 and House Bill 28.The Governor will have both bills on his desk.

 Governor Nixon vetoed HB 650 (see here), however, Doe Run is now pressing lawmakers to override the veto. Contact your lawmakers and ask them to reject Doe Run's request for an override. Don't override Missourians' rights! See the news here.

HB 650 contains an attempt by special interests to do big favors for one of our biggest polluters, Doe Run. HB 650 would cap punitive or exemplary damages to claims from Doe Run, operator of the nation’s largest lead smelter and lead mining/ milling operations in Missouri. House bill 28 passed and omitted this toxic treat. However, its twin, HB 650, contains the Doe Run language and we want to maintain the veto on HB650.

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed HB 650 and signed HB28.

See our review of the Omnibus bills and other legislative issues here. Highlights/lowlights include:

  • provisions weakening factory farm oversight,
  • long-awaited action on pollution permit fees for the Dept. of Natural Resources,
  • changes to Missouri's environmental commissions,
  • solid waste districts,
  • and more.

Your action and support made it possible to hold back this year’s attacks. We promise to stay informed on what is going on during the next legislative session and notify you via email on ways you can take action. If you aren’t already on our email action list, sign up here. Stay tuned!

Besides the Omnibus issues, we were watching bills on urban agriculture and energy.

Read more: 2013 General...

Tax Dollars Subsidizing Destruction of Upper Mississippi River

August 13, 2013

Time for Congress to Focus on River Health, Not Corporate Welfare


Advocates for the Mississippi River's health are calling on Congress to use taxpayer dollars to restore the river and the economic benefits it provides to local economies and the country instead of subsidizing the destruction of critical ecosystems. A new report by experts from the Nicollet Island Coalition, a group of conservation and economic organizations working in the Upper Mississippi River basin, outlines how to accomplish this.

See the news here. The report is available online at

Members of the Nicollet Island Coalition

Izaak Walton League of America, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, National Wildlife Federation, Prairie Rivers Network, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Sierra Club, and Taxpayers for Common Sense

Smarter Farming Can End the Gulf Dead Zone

Semi-Final Bottom Dissolved Oxygen Map2013

 (St. Louis) – A larger than average “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is our summer reminder that nitrogen and phosphorus pollution remain one of our nation’s greatest water quality challenges.

 See the map (also above):

The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone is an area where oxygen levels in the water are too low to support marine life. This year it measures more than 5,800 square miles.

Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution fuel the excessive growth of algae which dies and decomposes, sucking the oxygen from the water. Ocean animals flee the Dead Zone – or die if they cannot escape it. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution have many sources, including farm fertilizers, wastewater treatment plants and some industries. The Mississippi River delivers the pollution to the Gulf. The largest contributor to the Gulf Dead Zone pollution is agriculture.

Missouri has ranked among the top five states for contributing these Dead Zone pollutants to the Gulf.

 “Missouri farmers have no interest in destroying Gulf fisheries, at least not on purpose,” said Kathleen Logan Smith, Policy Director for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “However, we still have farmers whose decisions are solely based on profit and yield with little respect for soil and water quality. Because good farm stewardship can deliver profitable crops, fertile soil into the future and clean water today, it’s time all our farmers commit to doing what works.”


Read more: Smarter Farming...

MCE Urges Rejection of Landfill Fire Plan

Thursday, July 11, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment sent our comments to the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources on Republic Services' Contingency Plan for the Bridgeton/West Lake landfill fire. The company, which owns the Bridgeton/Westlake landfill, had submitted the Plan to satisfy an agreement with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

In the letter, MCE urges the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources to reject Republic's Contingency Plan for addressing the landfill fire because the Plan fails to meet industry standards, risks public safety, and diverges enormously from advice provided by experienced landfill fire experts.

You can read our comments here.

You can find the Contingency Plan at this link.

More than 100 people attended the July 11 community meeting at Pattonville High School to review the Contingency Plan. The next community meeting on the West Lake Landfill will be July 25 at Pattonville High School at 7 p.m. 

Branching Out From Facebook

In related news, community members launched their website this week at:

101 0608-June9-2013WestLakeLandfillWev

Missouri Organizations Urge Protection of Missouri Floodplains from Dangerous Landfills

June 25, 20132013-06-25-NewsConfWeb

Missouri Organizations Urge Protection of Missouri Floodplains from Dangerous Landfills
Hearings on West Lake Radioactive Waste Landfill, Labadie Coal Ash Waste Landfill Set for Tuesday Evening

SAINT LOUIS – Today, The Sierra Club, Missouri Coalition for the Environment and Labadie Environmental Organization hosted a 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.

Many toxic landfills lie in the floodplains of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec Rivers in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The groups stood in front of the elevated Mississippi River, demanding urgent action to clean up current waste sites in the floodplains, and prevent the construction of dangerous and risky new landfills.

Read more: Missouri...

State DNR Yet to Heed Experts on Landfill Fire

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources has not acted on the advice of its expert on addressing the West Lake Landfill fire in Bridgeton where a subsurface fire is threatening radioactive nuclear weapons waste. See the story here.


You can see the expert's report here.


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