Environmental group accuses Ameren of dumping too much waste in Missouri River

3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago Tuesday, October 23 2018 Oct 23, 2018 Tuesday, October 23, 2018 2:21:00 PM CDT October 23, 2018 in News
By: Ian Nickens, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - Environmental activist groups Sierra Club and Earth Justice are in court this week saying electric utility Ameren is dumping billions of gallons of harmful wastewater into the Missouri River, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is allowing them to get away with it.

Both sides are bringing witnesses to the Missouri Administrative Court to argue whether Ameren should be allowed to continue its current cooling practices at its coal-fired electric plant in Labadie.

Ameren uses the coal to light fires and boil water, which begins the process to generate electricity. As the coal burns, Ameren disposes of expended heat by letting hot water wash out into the river and replacing it with cool water. However, there is another way to keep power plants cool called a "closed cooling system," which takes in some water, but uses a cooling facility to cool the water for reuse instead of dumping it and taking more water from nearby sources.

Usually, the DNR would test power plants like the one in Labadie to make sure they have the best available technology for the environment, but Sierra Club said the DNR skipped that test for Ameren.

"The Labadie coal plant is putting so much thermal pollution into the Missouri River and-- if you built a coal plant today, it would be illegal to build a plant like that," said Missouri Sierra Club Chapter Director John Hickey.

Hickey also said the increase in water temperature from the hot water Ameren is dumping could harm fish that are used to a cooler water temperature.

Ameren Missouri denies claims like these. It said it has conducted studies that show the coal plant doesn't have an impact on the river, and the temperature difference in the water between when it is taken in and when it returns to the river is two degrees Celcius.

The plaintiffs in this case, the Sierra Club and Earth Justice, are arguing the hot water dumping, along with ash that makes its way into the water, is killing wildlife and poisoning drinkable water.

The defendant, Ameren, is arguing its practice stays within legal guidelines.

This process started in 2015, when, according to St. Louis Public Radio, the Sierra Club filed an appeal to Missouri, saying the permit the Department of Natural Resources granted Ameren didn't provide enough guidelines to protect the environment and it violates the Clean Water Act.

"The Missouri River is not Ameren's sewer to put in their coal-ash waste, to put in their hot water, and whatever else they want," Hickey said. "This is everybody's river, and DNR and Ameren should follow the Clean Water Act and comply. That's what we want to see."

This isn't the first time the Sierra Club and Ameren have butted heads.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ameren settled a lawsuit with the organization over air quality for $2 million in 2016. 

More News

Grid
List
BOONE COUNTY - One person was hospitalized Saturday evening after a shooting just east of Columbia, the Boone County Sheriff's... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 11:01:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - Community members gathered Saturday to raise money for the Police Unity Tour. Every year, police officers... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 7:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man is home from the hospital Saturday after spending three weeks in the ICU, recovering from... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 6:58:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
PHELPS COUNTY - One man was airlifted to the hospital Saturday morning after he suffered "a large caliber gunshot wound... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 4:46:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Fall Into Art kicked off the weekend with its annual show, and artists shared what their art means... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 3:50:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - One of the largest holiday shopping events in mid-Missouri takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Columbia Exposition... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 2:20:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - From the amateurs to the professional travel teams, dodgeball players of all skill sets took part in the... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 2:05:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A chase that reached speeds of 115 mph and a subsequent foot pursuit led to the arrest... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 12:50:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
Royal Palm Beach, FL ( WPTV ) -- Firefighters rescued several pets from a house fire in Royal Palm Beach... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 11:45:00 AM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - Another fatal crash occurred in Missouri early Saturday morning. 30 year-old Richard Lowry, of Eugene, was pronounced... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 5:57:00 AM CST November 17, 2018 in News
SEDALIA - A Sedalia woman was pronounced dead following a crash near Sedalia on Nov. 16. 51-year-old Janna McQueen... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 5:24:00 AM CST November 17, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A jury has found a Wisconsin man guilty of first-degree murder for killing a Missouri mother who... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 9:47:00 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Families filled empty shoeboxes with hygiene products, school supplies, clothes, shoes and toys for children in need at... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 8:04:00 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The price of a typical Thanksgiving meal in Missouri is a full $5.25 higher than the national average.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 7:18:00 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The nature of Twitter and how government officials use it was at the heart of a hearing... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 4:11:00 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - The University of Missouri Board of Curators announced cuts to costs Friday to help with enrollment at... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 3:24:00 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- USA Gymnastics' longtime chief operating officer has resigned, the organization said Friday, becoming the latest in a string... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 2:56:27 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- A tree in downtown Columbia became the target of vandalism Thursday night when two men were caught on camera... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 2:49:00 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
11am 32°
12pm 33°
1pm 35°
2pm 36°