Missouri River

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

Labadie, Mo. is a town about 35 miles from St. Louis that might be described as “quaint” and “quiet.” But for the past two years, a controversy between some town residents and Ameren Missouri, an electric company that has a power plant situated in the Missouri River bottoms near Labadie, has sparked a lively local discourse. It concerns the ash that’s leftover from burning coal at the plant. Johanna Mayer has this report.

(flickr/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carlos J. Lazo)

The Missouri River Working Group is holding its first meeting on Wednesday to come up with a policy on flood control.

Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill launched the group with senators from North Dakota to look for ways to improve flood control along the Missouri River and keep this year’s flooding from happening again.

flickr/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carlos J. Lazo

The Missouri River Working Group will hold its first meeting next week to discuss issues related to flood control.

Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, along with senators from states along the Missouri River, launched the group to examine the best ways to protect people and property. They’ll also discuss ways to avoid floods, like this summer’s, from happening in the future.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Board of Commissioners of Franklin County will discuss controversial changes to its zoning ordinance tomorrow.

Up for approval is permit language allowing the utility company AmerenUE to build a coal ash landfill next to its plant in Labadie, Mo.

Patricia Shuban is the Director of the Labadie Environmental Organization, which opposes any rule that would allow Ameren to store toxic substances in the Missouri River floodplain.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The rising Missouri River has forced the suspension of some Amtrak trains between St. Louis and Kansas City.

The suspension of the Missouri River Runner will last through at least July 6. Flooding along Union Pacific tracks west of Jefferson City is forcing freight trains to use the Union Pacific route that is shared with the Missouri River Runner. 

The specific trains canceled are:

(Screen capture via YouTube/TeamSaintLouis)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will release even more water from the Gavins Point Dam this week. But in spite of these record high flows on the Missouri River, the Corps does not expect major flooding in the St. Louis area this summer.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock

FEMA to House Displaced Tornado Victims Near Joplin Airport

The federal government is planning to use 50 acres south of the Joplin Regional Airport to provide temporary housing for people who lost their homes in the May 22 tornado.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 8:55 with information about another levee breach:

The flooding has breached another levee in northwest Missouri, forcing the evacuation of the Holt County town of Craig.

Emergency officials in Holt County say the flooding Missouri River breached a levee along the Big Tarkio River around 2 p.m. Monday, and another nearby levee is being overtopped.

Residents of Craig have until noon to leave their homes. Emergency sandbagging operations are ongoing.

Our earlier story:

The amount of water being released from a South Dakota dam into the Missouri River could increase, if a weather system currently over the river’s upper basin dumps more rain.

That’s the warning given today by Brigadier General John McMahon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during a visit to Jefferson City.

Rising water levels on the Missouri River are expected to swamp hundreds of thousands of acres of crops and halt barge traffic. 

The threat of decreased crop acreage in the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri is driving prices for corn and soybeans on Wednesday.

Ron Plain is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri.  He says flooding along the Missouri River could be devastating for bottomland farmers. 

(via Flickr/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Carlos J. Lazo)

Mo. Republican Roy Blunt says he's carefully watching a wave of water that will make its way down the Missouri River over the next few days and is already forcing evacuations in Iowa.

(Flickr/Brian Hillegas)
  • Missouri officials say freight has started moving again on the Missouri River – even before the official start of the shipping season. The Missouri Department of Transportation says that cement, fertilizer and other freight was being transported on the river this week. The U.S. Coast Guard is to place navigational buoys on the waterway April 1. State transportation officials say their goal is to boost the amount of products moved by barge on the Missouri River. About 334,000 tons of freight was transported on the river last year, up about 24 percent from 2009.

  • Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the federal health care law's legal fate is still uncertain. Koster's statement comes in response to three Republican officials who asked him whether he thought the law could be enforced in Missouri. Two federal judges upheld the health care overhaul. A third struck down the insurance requirement, and a fourth ruled the entire law is unconstitutional. Appeals courts will consider those rulings. Koster says Missouri risks possible sanctions by not complying with the law while waiting for a definitive ruling. Koster says lawmakers and the governor will have to weigh the risks of possible sanctions against costs for complying with the law. The GOP officials who requested the legal analysis criticized Koster's response for not being sufficiently specific.

  • Trustees at the University of Illinois are scheduled to vote on a plan to increase tuition by 6.9 percent for  students who start this fall. That means new students at the university's Urbana-Champaign campus would pay $11,104 a year in tuition. Students at the Chicago campus would pay $9,764, while students in Springfield would pay $8,670. Those figures don't include fees, room and board. Last year, trustees raised tuition by 9.5 percent. University spokesman Thomas Hardy calls the increase trustees are scheduled to consider today "a conservative proposal." Hardy says it keeps in mind the concerns of families and the financial needs of the university.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a new report about its planned re-evaluation of the future use of the Missouri River, and is looking for more public input on the study.

The draft report summarizes the more than 1,200 comments received by the Corps last year during the study scoping period.

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

In the small Franklin County town of Labadie, Missouri, about 35 miles west of St. Louis, a debate is raging over what to do with millions of tons of coal ash.

The dispute is pitting area residents against the utility company Ameren – and putting Franklin County’s commissioners in the middle of the fight.