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Environmental proposals defeated at Ameren shareholder meeting

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
These bottles were on display on a table outside of Powell Hall, where Ameren held its shareholder meeting this morning. They contain creek water from Labadie, Missouri, which supporters of the environmental shareholder proposals say may contain coal ash.

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.

Jennings says her group wants Ameren to do more to mitigate the risks from coal ash, a waste product of coal combustion that is often stored in ponds.

“We would like to see them put all of these ponds into safe, lined landfills and to monitor the groundwater, and to clean up the contamination that they’ve caused,” Jennings said.

Ameren Vice President of Environmental Services, Mike Menne, says the company already monitors ground water at its Sioux power plant in St. Charles County, Missouri.

And he says more routine groundwater monitoring is in the works.

“We are in the process of putting together new permits with the Missouri State Department of Natural Resources that will require groundwater monitoring at all of our Missouri plants in the near future,” Menne said.

Menne says Ameren has also done some limited groundwater testing near drinking water wells in the vicinity of its power plant in Labadie, Missouri. He says those results will be released soon.

You can read Ameren Corporation’s 2012 proxy statement here.

It includes the three shareholder proposals, along with Ameren’s responses.

  • Item (4): Shareholder proposal relating to report on coal combustion waste (pp.43-47). Proposed by the Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment.
  • Item (5): Shareholder proposal relating to report on coal-related costs and risks (pp.47-51). Proposed by As You Sow.
  • Item (6): Shareholder proposal relating to assessment and report on greenhouse gas and other air emissions reductions through customer energy efficiency and renewable energy programs (pp.52-57). Proposed by the New York State Comptroller.

Last year, Ameren released its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which includes six pages related to coal ash.

The company has also posted information about coal ash on its website.

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