To The Editor:

Thank you, Missourian, for running a story informing the public that our state regulators are in the process of writing statewide rules on leaking ash ponds.

The proposed language benefits utilities at the expense of residents on well water and farmers raising crops near the contaminating waste.

Ameren told EPA that its ash ponds are sitting in contact with groundwater and that its groundwater monitoring at Labadie reveals high levels of arsenic — a known carcinogen — up to four times the safe drinking water limit.

Care should be taken to protect Missouri’s valuable water resources. The state’s proposed rules would allow Ameren to avoid cleaning up this contamination. Although Ameren plans to leave the leaking ponds sitting in the groundwater, with contamination sure to continue for decades ahead, the only logical remedy, that reduces the risk of arsenic ending up in drinking water, is to excavate and clean up the sites — like what has been done by city utilities in Columbia, Mo., and Springfield, Mo., and by a larger utility than Ameren, Duke Energy in North and South Carolina.

It is called “clean closure” because it cleans up the site and removes the risk to the surrounding area.

Cost? What is the cost of safe drinking water and fertile farmland? Risk of exposing the waste? Hasn’t the waste been exposed to water and air for decades already?

We have seen blowing ash and residents testified that dirty black soot from the plant ends up on private property off-site. It is time to get this right.

Ameren Labadie has a new landfill already in operation just thousands of feet from the leaking ash ponds. Let’s set this to rest and do right by our citizens and our grandchildren. If DNR will not require it from utilities like Ameren, Ameren should do it on their own and show the public they are a company we can trust and respect.