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Morning headlines: Thursday, July 7, 2011

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
Ameren’s 2,400-megawatt plant near Labadie, Mo. is the state’s largest coal-fired power plant.

Ameren's plan to dump coal waste moves forward

Ameren’s plan for a coal waste dump in an eastern Missouri floodway  has moved a step forward.

Ameren operates a power plant along the Missouri River in the Franklin County town of Labadie and dumps coal ash into two ponds. Those ponds are near capacity and Ameren wants to fill the river bottom with coal waste and surround it with a 20-foot-tall levee.  

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports many residents oppose the idea. They worry toxins will leach into groundwater or wash into the river.

Yesterday, Franklin County commissioners gave the county attorney until July 19 to draft a zoning amendment allowing the coal ash dump. Commissioners discussed possible conditions, such as requiring the dump's floor to be above the 100-year flood plain. The commission plans to review the draft amendment July 25.

Nixon vetoes extended deadline for sprinklers in residential care facilities

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have given facilities for the elderly and disabled moretime to install fire sprinkler systems.

A 2007 law enacted after a fatal group home fire in southwest Missouri gave facilities until the end of 2012 to install sprinklers. A bill passed this year would have extended that deadline through 2014.

Nixon vetoed the bill Wednesday, saying five years should be enough to comply and any further delay would unnecessarily put people's lives at risk. About 100 residential care and assisted living facilities still have not complied with the mandate, which applies only to those with more than 20 residents.

Stolen Civil War coins found

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, six rare Civil War-era coins stolen last month from the St. Louis Museum of Transportation have been recovered.

St. Louis County police got the coins back, but authorities have offered no details and no arrests have been made. The coins were part of an exhibit entitled "Money of the U.S. Civil War." They disappeared soon after they were put on display in June.

The stolen coins were minted between 1849 and 1862. One of them, an 1862 half-eagle, is valued at $15,000. The coins were on loan from the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo.



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