Ameren Coal Ash Landfill Debate
2:38 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Franklin Co. vote opens door for Ameren to build coal ash landfill

Updated 4:43 p.m.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners has approved its controversial landfill zoning regulations, opening the door for Ameren to build a coal ash landfill in Labadie, Mo.

The commissioners approved the new regulations by a 2-1 vote Tuesday morning, after more than two years of public debate over Ameren's landfill plans.

For a tense, sometimes emotional hour and a half before the vote, about 20 Franklin County residents spoke out against the regulations and Ameren’s planned coal ash landfill. They expressed concern over potential drinking water contamination, and the possibility that Ameren would bring in ash from other power plants.

Many in the packed Commission chambers held signs reading “NO LANDFILLS IN THE FLOODPLAIN,” and “JUST SAY NO.”

Petra Haynes of the Labadie Environmental Organization says she and the other landfill opponents aren’t giving up. "We’re just going to regroup and re-energize and explore our options and pursue those, I guess."

Haynes says it’s too soon to say specifically what those options are.

"We have some ideas and a strategy, and we will forge ahead on that."

Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer says he's certain the regulations will be challenged in court by either by local opponents or by Ameren.

"I can guarantee you neither side's happy in what we did," Griesheimer said. "But when you have - just like in the legislature, when you have a law where neither side's happy, you've struck a pretty good balance."

Ameren Attorney Susan Knowles says the company's next step will be to apply to the Missouri Department of Natural Resource for a landfill construction permit - a process she says will take about a year to complete.