Lawsuits Dropped; Holcim Can Start Building Cement Plant
By Bill Raack, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – Lawsuits against cement maker Holcim have been settled, allowing the construction of what will be the largest cement plant in the country south of St. Louis.
Several environmental groups have been fighting the project for years, alleging that it would harm the site along the Mississippi River in St. Genevieve County, and pollute the air in the St. Louis region.
But Diane Albright, with the Sierra Club, says Holcim's decision to spend $3 million on environmental programs in the area helped to convince them to drop their court challenges.
"Of course there are regrets but there's also a sense that we, those of us there were actually involved in the process, did right by our members," Albright said Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for Holcim says the company now plans to begin construction of the quarry and plant early next year.
Both sides were scheduled to argue one of the lawsuits filed against Holcim before the Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday. A federal court last week ruled in Holcim's favor on another lawsuit.
The company also will grant a conservation easement on nearly 2,000 acres over much of the proposed $600 million plant's buffer area. It will prevent any new development on the land for a century.
The plant will be built along the Mississippi River, about 40 miles south of St. Louis in northern Ste. Genevieve County (right on the border with Jefferson County).