June 25, 2013
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.
“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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a meeting 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.
“Leaving forever toxic wastes in a floodplain means the problem can only get worse, never better,” said Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “The radioactive wastes at the unlined West Lake Landfill need to be safely removed from the Missouri River floodplain, where they were dumped 40 years ago this July.”
The second hearing on Tuesday night 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 the Labadie coal-fired power plant 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.
“Our community has spent years fighting for protections for our drinking water, the floodplain and farmland from the leaking coal ash ponds and Ameren’s proposal to permanently dump coal waste next to the ponds,” said Patricia Schuba, President of the Labadie Environmental Organization. “We were muzzled by the County Commission, but tonight we can share our experiences and concerns with a public agency willing to listen. The decisions made on the Labadie coal ash landfill proposal could set a precedent for other communities contaminated by coal ash across the state of Missouri.”
For years, Ameren has dumped coal ash into more than a dozen ponds that surround its Meramec, Rush Island and Labadie coal-fired power plants. These ponds sit in the floodplains of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Meramec rivers. According to public records requests, MDNR has known since 1992 that a 154-acre, unlined ash pond at Ameren’s Labadie coal-fired power plant was leaking at a rate of 50,000 gallons per day.
More information on tonight’s hearings:EPA West Lake Landfill Meeting
Where: Pattonville High School Auditorium, 2497 Creve Coeur Mill Road, Maryland Heights, MO
When: June 25, 2013, 6:30-9pm.
PSC Ameren Coal Ash Hearing
Where: Union, MO, East Central College, Continuing Education Building #12
When: June 25, 2013, 6:00 pm