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...

Landfill Fire Moves North

MCE and Community Members Host Public Meeting:

Republic Service’s Landfill Fire Mitigation System Fails TMP GIW Map ExplainedWeb


St. Louis, MO – The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) and community members near the problematic Republic Services landfill in Bridgeton held its second public meeting in two weeks. Thanks to Missouri’s Sunshine laws for public information access, MCE obtained the most current Temperature Monitoring Probe data from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). (see TMPs data).

“The data show clearly that the subsurface landfill fire has moved beyond the equipment that was meant to stop its advance toward tons of radioactive wastes leftover from the purification of uranium for nuclear weapons,” said Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “Essentially, the ‘fire line’ is breached.”

MCE has long advocated for the removal of the radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site. The EPA stated at January meeting on West Lake that the landfill fire was 1,200 feet from the radioactive wastes. Last week the Attorney General said the landfill fire was 1,000 feet from the radioactive wastes. The Temperature Monitoring Probes (TMPs) map shows temperatures nearly 170 degrees Fahrenheit in TMP 2, one of the northern most probes. (see map). Temperatures above 130 degrees indicate a subsurface smoldering event – or a landfill fire.

“This failed plan has cost St. Louis months of precious time while the fire is moving. Federal, state, and local elected officials and government agencies charged with protecting the people can no longer allow Republic Services to call the shots. We don’t have time for failure. Delays in stopping this fire will ultimately just cost us more,” said Kathleen Logan Smith, Environmental Policy Director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.


Elevated Temperatures North of the Interceptor Wells


TMP-2 30 5/15/2013 80 ft. deep 169.3 degrees


TMP-3 29 5/9/2013 90 ft. deep 154.8 degrees


TMP-5 29 5/9/2013 140 ft. deep 177.4 degrees


TMP-11 30 5/15/2013 76 ft. deep 166.7 degrees


TMP-12 29 5/9/2013 55 ft. deep, 147.3 degrees


TMP-13 29 5/9/2013 89 ft. deep 173.1 degrees


TMP-14 29 5/9/2013 101 ft. 174.4 degrees


The Missouri Coalition for the Environment and dozens of community members sent letters 5/24 to the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over the landfill fire, and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has jurisdiction over the radioactive waste in the Superfund site at West Lake, asking both agencies to publicly share plans and procedures for the next phase of the response to this crisis.



Veolia Contract Flawed

Veolia Water Contract Effectively Privatizes Water Operations,

Threatens Public Accountability Provisions of Sunshine Law


(ST LOUIS)- A legal analysis reveals that a proposed contract with Veolia Water, a French multi-national corporation, would give the foreign company control of St. Louis waterworks and undermine citizen rights to obtain information about operations under the Sunshine law.

While promising more transparency in government, Mayor Francis Slay has claimed repeatedly that the contract is merely a consulting contract seeking advice on running the St. Louis Water Division. However, the contract itself contradicts this view.

“The provisions of the proposed contract make it crystal clear that that the operations of the City’s Water Division would be under the control of Veolia- that’s privatizing,” said Kathleen Logan Smith, Director of Environmental Policy with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “The contract goes far beyond a typical consulting contract. I cannot understand why our city’s politicians would claim otherwise, unless they have not read it.”

A legal review finds that the plain language of the proposed contract contains troubling articles that give away the city's intellectual property rights to Veolia, effectively eliminating the ability of the City to run the Water Division in the future.

Great Rivers Environmental Law Center conducted the review and explains the impact of the flaws found in Article 8 of the proposed contract: “This is troubling because it provides that a private for-profit multi-national corporation will become owner of all ideas for improving the St. Louis City Water Division, a public entity. The City will no longer own the designs for its systems. The public Water Division will, in effect, no longer be public.”

The contract states that the City shall provide Veolia with offices, desks, copies, internet and access to the City’s facilities, personnel and information technology systems (Article 13). Great Rivers Environmental Law Center points out that with Veolia employees sitting side by side with City employees, and having access to the City’s information technology systems, it will be impossible to prove that an idea is developed solely by the City and not jointly with Veolia. Thus, Veolia would have rights, under this flawed contract, to all the information and will be in control of the St. Louis City Water Division’ data, practices and operations.

In a blow to transparency and accountability, the contract also threatens to undermine Sunshine law provisions because once a private company shares office space and computer systems with a public entity, the private company will easily be able to convince a court that almost everything is “proprietary” and a “trade secret.” The legal analysis notes, “After Veolia has access to the City’s computer systems, there will be nothing to prevent it from requiring the City to deny many Sunshine Law requests on the basis that the information is now proprietary to Veolia. The City’s records will, in effect, be privatized and the Sunshine Law eviscerated.”

“Privatization of the St. Louis water system is a fait accompli if this contract is approved and Mayor Slay has indicated repeatedly that privatizing the water system will require a vote of the people,” said Logan Smith. “Either this contract is rewritten or the people of St. Louis get to vote.”

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment is one member of the Dump Veolia Coalition which opposes Veolia’s involvement in the St. Louis water system because of the company’s record in this country and internationally.

Read the proposed Veolia Water contract, posted by the Riverfront Times here:


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