Franklin County residents fight coal ash landfill plan
By Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis, MO – An environmental group is voicing opposition to a plan from Ameren to build a 400-acre coal ash landfill near the Missouri River, about 35 miles west of St. Louis.
Ameren operates a coal-fired power plant in Labadie, and needs more space to dispose of coal waste.
The Labadie Environmental Organization intends to raise their concerns tonight, at a Franklin County zoning meeting.
The group is trying to prevent the county from changing its zoning regulations. The environmentalists say the changes would make it too easy for Ameren to put a landfill in an area not zoned for waste disposal.
But Franklin County Senior Planner Scottie Eagan says the proposal would prohibit unprotected landfills in the floodplain. "Currently in our regulations we don't have anything to restrict any type of landfill in the county."
Patricia Schuba with the Labadie Environmental Organization says coal ash contaminants could leach into groundwater and the Missouri River.
"Fifty percent of Missourians drink from Missouri River water. So this is an issue that has been painted as very local, but it's truly a metro St. Louis issue."
Ameren officials say the landfill would be lined to prevent groundwater contamination and surrounded by a berm to keep out flood water.