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St. Louis County Officials Call For Stricter Regulation Of Ameren's Meramec Power Plant

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Updated at 3:45 p.m. on August 14, 2013 and at 11:10 a.m. on August 15, 2013 (to add comment from Ameren).

Another St. Louis County official is calling for tighter pollution controls at Ameren's Meramec power plant.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley today released a letter he sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, urging the agency to pursue sulfur dioxide controls at the Meramec plant.

The letter also says EPA is pursuing litigation against Ameren for violations at several power plants in the St. Louis area. But an EPA spokesperson said although Notices of Violation have been issued to Ameren over the past year or so, no lawsuit exists.

In a written statement, Ameren’s Mike Menne reiterated that there is no litigation pending in U.S. District Court related to Ameren Missouri’s Meramec power plant. Menne said that groups critical of plant operations are using selective and misleading data that “grossly overstate” sulfur dioxide emissions. He added that the Meramec plant burns ultra-low-sulfur coal and meets regulatory limits “by a wide margin.”

Dooley's letter is dated August 5, the same day that St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger sent a similar one to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. on August 5, 2013

A St. Louis County Councilman has sent a letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources raising concerns about pollution from Ameren’s Meramec Coal Plant.

Steve Stenger asked the state agency to require groundwater monitoring of the plant’s unlined ash ponds, which are located in the Mississippi River floodplain. 

Stenger also called for the reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions, which can contribute to respiratory and cardiac related health problems.

Ameren sent the following statement to St. Louis Public Radio:

Ameren Missouri operates its energy centers, including Meramec, in compliance with all laws and permits issued by federal and state agencies. In many cases, they operate well below these standards. Ameren Missouri’s generating fleet operates more than 75 percent below current allowable emission levels that are fully protective of human health and meets regulatory limits by a wide margin, including the Meramec Energy Center, where we’ve invested millions of dollars in environmental control technology. We expect a renewed water quality permit for the Meramec energy center to be issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in the coming months. We fully anticipate that groundwater monitoring will be part of the guidelines that will accompany the permit and we will fully comply with any such requirements. In fact, the drinking water locally is safe for consumption by the general public. An important reason why Ameren Missouri operates below emission control requirements is its low-sulfur coal strategy. We are the largest user of ultra-low-sulfur coal in the nation. Furthermore, we have invested more than $1 billion in emissions-control technology where needed while achieving the lowest electric rates of any investor-owned utility in Missouri. 


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