Environmental Group Prepares For Hearing - The Missourian: Local News

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Environmental Group Prepares For Hearing

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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 5:15 pm

A local environmental group is preparing to present its case against a coal-ash landfill during an upcoming Missouri Public Service Commission hearing.

The Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO) will present information during the PSC hearing Tuesday, June 25, at East Central College, 1964 Prairie Dell Road, Building 12. It starts at 6 p.m.

LEO President Patricia Schuba said she is worried about the landfill being built in a floodplain of the Missouri River.

The group says the landfill poses a public health risk, adding that coal ash contains carcinogens and heavy metals linked to cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine diseases.

“The site is vulnerable to groundwater contamination as well as periodic flooding that could carry the contaminants into the Missouri River,” a LEO news release states. It is a source of drinking water for millions of downstream consumers of water, the release adds.

But Ameren officials have said that the landfill will be safe. It will have a liner and groundwater monitoring system, according to Ameren.

Schuba said she would never trust a utility to do its own groundwater testing.

She suggested that Ameren build the landfill somewhere else, saying it could possibly be cheaper to build outside of a floodplain.

The landfill is expected to meet coal ash disposal needs for about 24 years, and it will be built in several phases, with phase one expected to cost $27 million, Ameren officials have said.

Ameren wants to expand the boundaries of its Labadie power plant by 813 acres to accommodate the landfill.

Not all of the 813 acres will be for the actual landfill. The landfill itself is only planned to be 166 acres, and the area surrounding it would be a buffer, according to Ameren.

The PSC hearing is part of Ameren Missouri’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to expand the boundaries of the Labadie Energy Center for the landfill.

The PSC hearing will consist of two parts, said Gregg Ochoa, PSC spokesman.

The first part will be a question-and-answer session in which people can ask questions of Ameren officials and PSC staff. The question-and answer session starts at 6 p.m.

Immediately after, the actual hearing will take place so people can give comments to the PSC members.

Ameren Missouri has asked the PSC to approve its application by Dec. 31 to allow the utility to begin construction of the landfill in 2014.

Formal evidentiary hearings in this case are scheduled for Sept. 23-25 in Room 310 of the Governor Office Building, 200 Madison St., Jefferson City.

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