Environmental Protection Agency

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Quite a bit of information has come out over the past month about the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills ― some of it contradictory and confusing.

So when EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks offered up an interview ― about something else ― I took advantage of my time with him to try to clear up some of that confusion.

We talked about the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill; about the firebreak that’s supposed to keep it from reaching the radioactive waste at the adjacent West Lake Landfill; and about groundwater contamination in Bridgeton.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan will be a historic milestone in the vein of the 1970’s Clean Water and Clean Air acts.

That was Karl Brooks’ message to members of the St. Louis Regional Chamber at a breakfast event Wednesday morning. Brooks is the administrator of EPA’s Region 7, which includes Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

The Clean Power Plan proposes cutting power plants' carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.

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

Peabody Energy is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposed carbon emission rules.

The St. Louis-based coal company took part in the EPA’s hearings on the rule Tuesday morning in Washington D.C. The agency is also holding hearings in Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh Tuesday and Wednesday.

The EPA’s proposed rules seek to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in the power sector by 30 percent by the year 2030.

Jess Jiang / St. Louis Public Radio

Historically, the nation's barges have transported much of the nation's coal. In fact, barges are second only behind rail for moving the nation's primary energy source to the power plants that use it.  But in June, the EPA put out a new rule to cut carbon emissions by thirty percent by 2030. The rule's impact on power plants is direct. But what about the impact on the barge industry?  

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order on Wednesday, officially launching the development of a comprehensive state energy plan.

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

The Environment Protection Agency’s proposed regulations on carbon emissions released earlier this month are sparking debate on whether the rule changes will create jobs or kill jobs.

The new rules seek to reduce American’s carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. States have until June 30, 2016 to draft plans for how to reduce their average emissions.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers are sounding off on proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at reducing carbon emissions.  

The proposed rules effectively provide individual states with options to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. These options include making facilities more energy efficient, investing in alternative energy sources like solar and wind power, or joining other states in “cap and trade” programs.

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants, industrial activities, and cars contributes to asthma and other health problems in the St. Louis area.
Syracuse University News Services

Cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants would also reduce other types of air pollution, both here in Missouri and nationally.

That's according to a recent analysis by researchers at Harvard and Syracuse Universities.

Along with carbon dioxide, coal-fired power plants emit other pollutants, like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Those in turn can contribute to forming particle pollution, ozone, and smog.

(via Flickr/[sic])

(Updated 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, June 3)

Within minutes after the Environmental Protection Agency announced its proposed regulations for coal-fired power plants, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt blasted the decision as a “unprecedented power grab.”

Blunt followed through on Tuesday by co-sponsoring a bill, called the “Coal Country Protection Act,’’ that would allow carbon-emissions limits to go into effect only if other federal agencies could guarantee that no jobs would be lost, electricity rates wouldn’t go up, and the nation’s economy wouldn’t be hurt.

Missouri currently gets more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants like Ameren's Labadie power plant, pictured here.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first-ever rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The proposal sparked immediate debate over the impact, especially in states such as Missouri that depend heavily on coal.

The new regulations would reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide by 2030, compared to 2005 emissions levels.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated after the public meeting on 4-10-2014:

The meeting hosted Thursday night by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was supposed to focus on the first phase of the $30 million cleanup of the former Carter Carburetor plant in North St. Louis. That first phase involves removing asbestos from the site's main building.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is contracting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a fire break to keep an underground fire from reaching radioactive waste at the landfill complex in Bridgeton.

Nora Ibrahim/St. Louis Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are talking about what’s best for the Bridgeton landfill and the World War II-era radioactive material stored at the neighboring West Lake landfill.

So says U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who was among four Missouri members of Congress – two Republicans and two Democrats – who cosigned a recent letter asking the EPA to work with the Corps, which previously dealt with similar radioactive sites elsewhere in the St. Louis area.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A study conducted for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that the underground fire plaguing part of the Bridgeton Landfill site isn’t a hazardous threat, even if it reaches radioactive material stored at a neighboring landfill.

RiverCity Images

Updated 2/7/14 to correct the timeline of the lawsuit against MSD.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is preparing for its first big dig.

Starting in a few days, MSD will begin construction of a 3,028 foot-long tunnel under the River Des Peres, just south of Carondelet.

The tunnel will hold a pressurized pipe that will carry sewage to the Lemay Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:25 p.m. to add statement from Republic Services, and at 6:00 p.m. to add comments from EPA.

More radioactive material has been found at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton.

The material was detected during radioactivity testing in preparation for the construction of a trench. That trench will separate radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill from an underground fire smoldering at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the construction of the firebreak trench.

(via US Environmental Protection Agency)

The US Environmental Protection Agency held a community meeting in Hartford, Illinois, on Wednesday, to inform residents about the ongoing cleanup of the former Chemetco copper smelter.

This is the second of three open houses being held this year. Another will be held in December.

(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 4:07 p.m.

Preliminary work to build a firebreak at the Bridgeton Landfill will begin next week. But a local environmental group is worried about what it could stir up.

To figure out where they can safely dig the trench that will separate the underground fire from the radioactive waste, contractors will test the soil for radioactivity. That involves clearing trees and shrubs away from where the firebreak will be built.

(via Flickr/JefferyTurner)

A federal audit has raised questions about the way a St. Louis social service agency spent a $2 million federal stimulus grant to retrofit diesel engines.

Grace Hill Settlement House received the grant in 2009 to install pollution-reducing technologies in vehicles like fire trucks, school buses and tugboats. It was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

(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.

(via Environmental Protection Agency)

Three Missouri agencies will receive $1.6 million in federal funds to cleanup and redevelop contaminated properties.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that it has selected public authorities in St. Louis, Springfield and Jefferson City, to receive the funding as part of its $15 million supplemental revolving loan funds (RLF).

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It was high noon on a sunny day when about two dozen environmentalists – one of them holding a cardboard “flat Earth” -- gathered recently outside the St. Louis County office of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner to protest her stance on climate change.

In particular, the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club is highlighting a recent letter that the first-term member of Congress sent to a constituent, in which Wagner wrote that the theory that humans are responsible for the planet’s recent temperature increase is “inconsistent and unsound science.”

Akin: EPA Should Be Redesigned

Oct 29, 2012
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

You can add Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma to the growing number of prominent Republicans voicing their support for Congressman Todd Akin’s bid for Senator Claire McCaskill’s seat.

Inhofe is the ranking minority member for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and he joined Akin in criticizing McCaskill’s stance on fossil fuels.

(via Flickr/xpda)

The city of Joplin, Mo. is getting an additional boost in an effort to clean up soil contaminated by lead and cadmium that was blown around by the fatal EF-5 tornado in May 2011.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today clean-up methods it will take on a former mining site in Madison County.

The Madison County Mines Superfund site is part of the Old Lead Belt, where the mining of heavy metals began in the 1700s. The nearly 500-square-mile area is contaminated by lead, a highly-toxic metal that can wreak havoc on organs and tissues in the human body.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

New report: "vast improvements" at John Cochran VA Medical Center

A new government report says the John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has made "vast improvements" after an earlier report noted problems.

(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.

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

Updated at 6:30 p.m. to add information on mercury pollution.

A new report released today puts both Missouri and Illinois among the top 20 states with the most toxic air pollution from power plants.

The Natural Resources Defense Council report ranked Missouri 15th and Illinois 16th nationwide, based on 2010 data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the most recent data available.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

EPA, Kellwood reach settlement over contamination

St. Louis-based Kellwood Company has agreed to a plan to clean up the site of former metal fabrication plant in Franklin County.

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