Below is an overview of the priority issues MCE is working on in the Missouri Legislature this session. Phone calls to your legislators is an effective tool to attract attention to issues you care about. Contact your Missouri legislators to let them know you want them to take action. Find your legislators and their phone numbers here.
MCE believes Missouri must embrace effective safe mining practices for the health and safety of mining workers, the surrounding communities, and future generations. Click here to read the MCE Mining Policy Position and our fact sheets on the harms of mining cobalt, Rare Earth Elements (REEs), and silica sand. If Missouri wants to leverage the mineral reserves in our state, we must do so in a manner that acknowledges risks and minimizes impacts on our social, economic, and environmental well-being through safe and responsible mining practices. Call your legislators and urge them to do something to protect you, future generations, and our natural environment from the impacts of mining! Tell your legislators we need these protections in place:
- Setbacks from schools, homes, wildlife refuges, surface waters, state parks and conservation areas, and federal parks.
- Mining permit requirements for all mines, not just “non-metallic minerals.”
- Stronger protections in the mining permit applications to ensure potential operators assess the health and environmental impacts of their proposed mine.
- Environmental assessment worksheets for all potential mines for cobalt, Rare Earth Elements (REEs), silica sand, lead, and iron.
- Greater notice requirements to the public and public engagement opportunities surrounding permit applications
- HB 982: Provides protections for communities near silica sand mines in St. Genevieve County. Tell the Chairman and your legislator: This is a great first step but Missourians across the state need protection from the harms of mining. There are mineral interests and risks associated with mining various minerals throughout the state. Expand this bill to minimize the effects on the health and safety of Missourians statewide, especially from silica sand, cobalt, Rare Earth Elements, lead, and iron.
- Chairman Reedy, Rural Community Development Committee: 573-751-3971
- Find your representative here.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS):
CAFO waste is a danger to our public and environmental health, whether the waste from CAFOs is handled on-site or taken by a third party. There is insufficient regulation in Missouri on third-party recipients of CAFO waste. Because of the health risks associated with the waste from CAFOs, it is critical that we close these loopholes. Such gaps in the law put our communities and our natural environment at risk, therefore we need to understand who is handling CAFO waste and how they handle it. You can learn all about the harms of CAFOs on our website here, which includes fact sheets, a map of CAFOs in Missouri, and a CAFO Action Toolkit. Tell your legislators we need these protections put in place:
- Registration of all Class II CAFOs. Right now for example, if a beef CAFO has less than 300 animals, it doesn’t have to register with the state. DNR only knows they exist if someone complains about them. We deserve to know where all CAFOs are, regardless of size.
- Registration of recipients of CAFO waste. Right now, CAFOs can avoid the requirement of a nutrient management plan if they “export” all of their waste off their property and give it to a third party. These third parties don’t have to register with DNR so we have no idea where this waste is applied. We deserve to know where CAFO waste is applied so we understand which homes, air, waterways, and soil are at risk.
- Groundwater monitoring at Class I CAFOs. Right now, it is difficult to indicate whether CAFOs are threatening groundwater, which many Missourians rely on for drinking water. When waste is overapplied, it can leach through the soil and enter groundwater and we currently do not have any requirements in place for CAFOs to monitor groundwater aquifers underneath their property.
Water Quality Protections:
Water is a resource the public relies on, so the public should have a voice in safeguarding it. The Missouri Clean Water Commission is a seven-member board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, which creates water quality standards in the state. It implements federal Clean Water Law, controls potential sources of pollution, and permitting of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). In 2016, the legislature removed the requirement to have the majority of CWC represent members of the public. Fortunately, there are efforts to reinstate it!
- HB 682: This bill will bring back the public majority requirement on the Clean Water Commission by requiring four members from the public, two members involved in agriculture and mining, and one member from wastewater treatment. Tell your legislators: Missourians need representation on the Clean Water Commission to ensure our health and safety concerns are considered when approving permits for polluting entities.
- SB 483: When the department of natural resources receives a complaint that a person has released a contaminant into a public water system and the department finds the presence of a contaminant in such public water system that may be hazardous to public health and safety with regard to drinking water supplies pursuant to this chapter, the department shall request that the attorney general bring a civil action against the person to recover the cost of remediation and actual damages as well as any other appropriate injunctive or equitable relief. If the person found responsible for releasing the contaminant is a public utility, such public utility shall not pass any damages or costs assessed against the public utility under this section. Tell your legislators: We need protections against hazardous contaminants in the public water supply.
- HB 1282: This bill enacts provisions on groundwater monitoring requirements at permitted facilities where there is a potential source of water contaminants or pollution. Tell your legislators: We need increased groundwater monitoring requirements to protect Missourian’s health and environment from irreversible harm.
- SB 266: This bill creates exemptions for construction permit requirements for earthen basins that will result in ground and surface water contamination and reduce the quality of water specified by the CWC. Tell your legislators: Without construction permits, it will decrease regulation and prevent the use of standard procedures to protect water and soil health.
Nuclear Power and Hazardous Waste:
These bills allow utilities to charge customers for the cost of the construction of a power plant before the customers even benefit from the energy produced. This concept – “Construction Work in Progress” or CWIP – is often used by the nuclear power industry. There is a history of harmful nuclear waste management by Missouri’s state agencies. The devastating consequences of low-level uranium exposure in North St. Louis County from improper waste management from the Manhattan Project is a prime example of the harmful impacts it has on Missourians. Waste generated from nuclear power plants is high-level uranium, which creates even more detrimental health consequences. We cannot accept more nuclear waste generation in our state! Tell your legislators: Missouri needs investment in safe, reliable renewable energy, not dangerous, expensive nuclear power. The Missouri legislature allows utility companies to keep meddling with radioactive isotopes without assessing the risks and impacts on Missouri residents. The benefits do not outweigh the risks, and the devastating consequences of nuclear waste are at the cost of Missourians’ health and environment. No more nuclear waste should be generated in the state regardless of toxicity level or location.
- HB 225: Allows utility companies to charge ratepayers for construction work in progress (CWIP), a mechanism used to build nuclear power plants. HB 225 would undo the long-standing ban on CWIP that passed in 1976 under Proposition 1 with 63% of the statewide vote. Missourian’s taxes should be invested in renewable energy construction such as wind and solar energy. Tell the Committee: Missouri ratepayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for risky and unnecessary nuclear construction nor should they be subjected to extremely toxic radioactive waste exposure. Vote “no” on HB 225 to protect Missourians’ health and safety.
- HB 1231: Improves disclosure requirements for property landlords/sellers. It requires the disclosure of radioactive exposure from hazardous contamination for current tenants and government notice requirements to current residents. Tell your legislator: It is a tenant’s right to be aware of radioactive exposure from hazardous contaminants.
- HB 1140: Requires a notice of intent to excavate to DNR to check whether the excavation is in a site contaminated with hazardous waste. Tell your legislator: MDNR needs to be aware of excavation sites and remediation efforts taking place to prevent disturbance of contaminated soil and water.