Clean Air Act

Rush Island Energy Center, Ameren Corp.

Updated Aug. 22 with details from the trial — An Environmental Protection Agency lawsuit alleging that Ameren Missouri violated the Clean Air Act goes to trial today in U.S. District Court.

The EPA filed suit against the utility five years ago. Officials with the federal agency allege that, in 2007 and 2010, Ameren illegally installed boiler equipment at two units of its Rush Island Power Plant in Jefferson County without required permits. Under the Clean Air Act, such modifications are considered new sources of air pollution, which are subject to stricter emissions limits.

Provided by Bi-State Development Agency

Updated Friday, July 22 at 5:07p.m. with statement from Ameren Missouri — Ameren Missouri and the Sierra Club reached a $2 million settlement Thursday in U.S. District Court over the utility company's alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

Ameren Missouri's coal fire power plant at Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to designate the area around Ameren's Labadie coal-fired power plant in Franklin and St. Charles Counties as exceeding federal air quality standards.

From left, Gayle Thackrey, Bridgeton; Adam Stipanovich, Houston; Ann McGregor, Kansas City; Jennifer Conner, Pierce City; John Hickey, St. Louis; Gerald Nickelson, Washington
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

Six Missouri residents, all actively involved with environment issues for reasons ranging from financial to religious, traveled to Washington this week to support the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan on Capitol Hill. The White House is pushing hard to advance several administrative rules it says will help clean the environment and fight global warning.  A consortium of environmental organizations including, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and others is paying for the group's travel expenses.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has been a leading critic of regulations proposed by the Obama administration.
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

Last Thursday, just as members of Congress and Americans across the country were getting ready to begin the Memorial Day weekend, the White House quietly announced that new rules to reduce carbon emissions from new, modified and existing electric power plants would not be finalized until August, at the earliest. The rules require fossil-fuel burning power plants, most notably coal-fired plants, to reduce emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next 15 years.

Ameren Missouri's coal fire power plant at Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 12:45 p.m. with additional information, new state from Ameren.

The Sierra Club is following through on its threat to sue Ameren Missouri over emissions from three of the company's coal-fired power plants.

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Updated 4 p.m.

A federal appeals court has vacated an EPA rule that would have limited the amount of power plant pollution that drifts across state lines. The impact of the ruling by the three-judge panel will be felt in Missouri.

The EPA passed the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule last summer.

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The Environmental Protection Agency has announced new limits on air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The rule aims to lower emissions from power plants in 27 states including Missouri and Illinois.

The goal is to reduce soot (fine particulates) and smog (ground-level ozone) and improve air quality downwind. (Check out this map from the EPA, a preview of which is above, to see how the new limits affect your state).

Ameren Missouri and the U.S. Department of Justice are at odds over environmental concerns.

The federal government filed a lawsuit today against the energy company for violations of the Clean Air Act.

The suit alleges that Ameren made multi-million-dollar modifications to its coal-fired power plant in Festus (map image above), without installing required pollution controls and obtaining the necessary permits.

The government wants Ameren to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, to address any harm caused by the violations, and to pay civil penalties.

Ameren spokesperson Susan Gallagher says the company did nothing wrong.

"We believe that the position that the EPA is taking will impose significant costs on Ameren customers, especially in tough economic times."

Gallagher says the modifications at the Festus plant consisted of routine maintenance projects allowed under the Clean Air Act.