Coal Ash

Wastewater from Ameren's coal-fired power plant in Franklin County discharges into the Missouri River.
Labadie Environmental Organization

The Sierra Club says Ameren's Labadie power plant in Franklin County does not meet state and federal water quality standards and wants it brought into compliance.

On Friday, the environmental group filed an appeal with the state, alleging the plant’s operating permit does not do enough to protect wildlife or groundwater.

Ameren's power plant in Labadie is the largest in the state.
Art Chimes

Opponents of Ameren’s plans to build a coal ash landfill in Labadie have reached an agreement with the company, ending years of contentious debate.

The settlement eliminates all pending lawsuits and clears the way for Ameren to start construction.

But it also ensures that the landfill will be built at least five feet above groundwater, and that no coal ash can be brought in from any other power plant — two protections that some Franklin County residents had fought for.

Ameren's coal-fired plant in Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The Franklin County Commission has approved a set of regulatory changes that will govern Ameren’s construction of a coal ash landfill in Labadie. The decision follows a heated public comment period in June.  

The coal ash landfill hearing got underway at 9 a.m. and lasted into the evening. Ameren employees wearing bright yellow vests attended the hearing in shifts throughout the day.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The chambers of the Franklin County Commission were filled to near capacity for much of the day on Thursday for a public hearing about proposed changes to the county’s coal ash landfill regulations.

The regulations will affect a coal ash landfill that Ameren wants to build next to its power plant in Labadie.

Franklin County residents show their opposition to Ameren's coal ash landfill at a county commission meeting in late 2011.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

In April, Franklin County considered a proposal to ease its restrictions on coal ash landfills. Even though that meeting was open to the public, county residents were not allowed to speak. This Thursday they’ll get their chance.

The all-day hearing with county’s board of commissioners is the latest installment in a six-year battle over Ameren’s plans to build a coal ash landfill next to its power plant in Labadie.

This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill.
Ameren Missouri

A set of proposed amendments to zoning restrictions in Franklin County may pave the way for Ameren to build the coal ash landfill they’ve been pushing for since 2009, despite environmental concerns from residents.  

Wastewater from Ameren's coal-fired power plant in Franklin County discharges into the Missouri River.
Labadie Environmental Organization

Updated on 2/17/15:

Ameren’s coal-fired power plant in Labadie has been operating under an expired wastewater discharge permit since 1999.

In fact, all of Ameren's plants in the St. Louis area have expired National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits: Meramec's lapsed in 2005, and Rush Island's and Sioux's in 2009.

This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill.
Ameren Missouri

There’s a new twist in the legal wrangling over Ameren’s plans to build a coal ash landfill in Franklin County.

On Tuesday, Ameren and Franklin County together filed a lawsuit against the Labadie Environmental Organization, a nonprofit made up of area residents opposing the landfill.

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.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Ameren's ability to move ahead with building a coal ash landfill in Franklin County is now in some doubt.

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed a lower court's dismissal of a case filed by Franklin County residents in an effort to block the landfill's construction.

In its unanimous decision, the Supreme Court said the residents have a valid case and that the Franklin County Circuit Court must hear it.

Ameren’s 2,400-megawatt plant near Labadie, Missouri, is the state’s largest coal-fired power plant. It produces an average of 550,000 tons of coal ash each year.
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

State regulators have given Ameren the go-ahead to build a new coal ash landfill next to its power plant in Franklin County.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources approved Ameren’s Labadie landfill construction permit on Friday.

In its approval letter, the state agency said that Ameren’s landfill plan met or exceeded all the requirements of the new federal coal ash rule ― except one.

In Dec. 2008, a dike collapsed at TVA's coal-fired power plant near Kingston, Tenn., releasing 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers and covering about 300 acres of land.
Tennessee Valley Authority

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.

In Dec. 2008, the failure of a dike at TVA's coal-fired power plant near Kingston, Tenn., released 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers and buried about 300 acres of land.
Tennessee Valley Authority

For the first time, the byproducts of coal-fired power plants will now be subject to federal regulation.

In a state like Missouri, which generates more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal, the new standards could have significant repercussions.

Ameren's coal-fired power plant in Labadie
Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

Post updated 11:13 a.m. on Monday, 11/24/14. 

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.  

Veronique Lacapra/St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 7/25/14 with information on a new lawsuit.

The Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO) has filed another lawsuit in their long-running campaign to prevent Ameren from building a coal ash landfill in Franklin County.

Image courtesy of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources

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 the approximate location of groundwater drinking wells near Ameren's proposed coal ash landfill in Franklin County. It was created based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data.
Labadie Environmental Organization

Updated on Wed., May 28.

Critics of Ameren's proposed coal ash landfill in Franklin County argued Tuesday that it would sometimes be sitting in groundwater.

That's a problem, because most Franklin County residents get their drinking water from groundwater wells ― and coal ash contains toxic substances like arsenic and lead.

This map shows the approximate location of groundwater drinking wells near Ameren's proposed coal ash landfill in Franklin County. It was created based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data.
Labadie Environmental Organization

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is hosting a meeting on Tuesday to get public input on Ameren's plans to build a coal ash landfill next to its power plant in Franklin County.

The meeting will focus on whether the agency should grant Ameren a landfill construction permit.

Ameren Missouri's Vice President of External Affairs and Communications, Warren Wood, said the new coal ash landfill will be state-of-the-art.

PSC Hears Arguments On Labadie Coal Ash Landfill

Mar 30, 2014
This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill.
Ameren Missouri

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.

(via Google Maps)

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing Thursday evening about a proposed agreement to address water pollution from the illegal disposal of coal ash from Ameren’s Rush Island Power Plant.

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.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

A new report released Tuesday by a coalition of environmental groups focuses on the need to revamp national water pollution standards for coal-fired power plants.

The report cites Ameren's Labadie power plant in Franklin County as one of the worst waterway polluters in the nation.

(Map created for the Labadie Environmental Organization based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data)

Environmental groups are once again urging state officials to require groundwater monitoring at Ameren’s coal-fired power plants in eastern Missouri.

The Sierra Club and Labadie Environmental Organization submitted a letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on Thursday asking the state not to allow Ameren to build new coal ash landfills before testing groundwater for contamination.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A small but vocal group of protesters gathered outside Ameren Missouri's headquarters in St. Louis today to voice their opposition to the company's plans to build several new coal ash landfills.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A local environmental group filed an appeal this morning in an ongoing effort to keep Ameren from building a coal ash landfill next to its power plant in Labadie.

Last month, a circuit court judge ruled that the Franklin County Commission was in the right when it approved a zoning amendment that would allow construction of the landfill.

But a group of 12 Labadie families, led by the grassroots Labadie Environmental Organization, is challenging that decision.

(via Google Maps)

Updated at 3:15 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2012:

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will hold another public awareness session Aug. 14. This one will focus on the permitting process for a proposed coal ash landfill at Ameren's Meramec power plant near Arnold, Mo.

The proposed landfill site is located at 8200 Fine Road, approximately 3.6 miles southeast of the intersection of Interstate 55 and Route 141. Ameren is preparing a detailed site investigation work plan. The session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Rogers Elementary School, 7700 Fine Road in St. Louis.

Representatives of MDNR and Ameren will be available to answer questions.

Original story posted 5:53 p.m. Aug. 7, 2012:

The St. Louis-based utility company Ameren is proposing to build a coal ash landfill at its Rush Island power plant in Jefferson County, about 10 miles southeast of Festus.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is holding a public awareness session tonight to describe the permitting process for the landfill.

(via Ameren Missouri website)

Last week, we reported that Ameren was conducting limited groundwater testing near its coal-fired power plant in Labadie.

The results of that testing are now posted in a report on the company’s website. According to that report, levels of boron, arsenic, and other contaminants from three sampling wells were all below regulatory health limits.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Three Ameren shareholder proposals were voted down today at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in St. Louis.

The proposals sought to have Ameren identify and address environmental problems related to its coal-fired power plants.

Sister Barbara Jennings coordinates the Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, a faith-based advocacy group that seeks to influence the policies of corporations.

Ameren's coal-fired power plant in Labadie
Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

Seven of Ameren Missouri's 12 coal ash ponds inspected for structural integrity by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been rated "poor."

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.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Update: 9:45 a.m. Oct 6:

Projected schedule for the Franklin County landfill zoning regulation:

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