Clean Air Act

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/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.

(EPA.gov website)

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.

(EPA.gov website)

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.