A local environmental group is asking state regulators to deny Ameren’s request to build a new coal ash landfill next to its Labadie power plant in Franklin County, on the basis that the landfill would not comply with new federal regulations.
After four years and a court order that pitted environmental groups against the coal industry, the Environmental Protection Agency is nearing its December deadline to finalize regulations for how coal-fired power plants dispose of the ash they create.
Coal ash — which contains toxic substances like mercury, lead and arsenic — can leach into groundwater if not properly contained. That has raised concerns among environmental groups who say Missouri does not properly regulate coal ash disposal.
The Missouri Supreme Court is considering the case surrounding Ameren Missouri's efforts to build a coal ash landfill next door to its coal-fired power plant in Franklin County.
The suit deals with whether citizens were allowed to fully voice their concerns at various public hearings in which zoning amendments were to be discussed, but not allowing comments on Ameren or the coal ash landfill. Attorney Maxine Lipeles argued that their concerns were not fully heard.
Franklin County residents hold up signs to show their opposition to Ameren's landfill plans at a meeting of the county commission in 2011, just before the commission voted to change its zoning regulations to allow coal ash landfills.
The Missouri Public Service Commission has signed off on Ameren Missouri's plan to build a coal ash landfill at its power plant in Franklin County.
The five member commission unanimously granted the utility company’s request for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity on Wednesday. That certificate gives Ameren the ability to expand the area of its Labadie power plant to build the new landfill.
This map shows groundwater drinking wells near Ameren's proposed coal ash landfill in Franklin County. It was created for the Labadie Environmental Organization based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data.
The approximate locations of drinking water wells in Franklin County (shown in red). This map was created for the Labadie Environmental Organization based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data.
Hearings begin in Jefferson City Monday morning on a proposed coal ash landfill in Franklin County.
Power company Ameren is seeking the Missouri Public Service Commission’s approval of the new facility to receive waste from its power plant in Labadie.
The utility is running out of room in its existing Labadie storage ponds. Ameren Vice President Warren Wood says the new landfill will be extremely safe, replacing slurry ponds with state-of-the-art dry storage.
According to the EPA, approximately 140,000 tons of ash containing heavy metals and other toxic substances contaminated Jefferson County wetlands, an unnamed tributary to Plattin Creek and a portion of Willers Lake.