Ameren plans on appealing a federal judge’s ruling regarding Ameren’s Rush Isand and Labadie power plants.
In a statement, Michael Moehn, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri, said the company cares about the environment and that it is its responsibility to be a good environmental steward for its customers and the communities it serves.
A federal judge Monday, Sept. 30, ordered Ameren Missouri to install technology to control pollution at the Labadie Energy Center to offset violations of federal law at a different plant.
The order was handed down by U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel in response to a Clean Air Act violation.
“We are reviewing the court’s lengthy opinion regarding the case,” Moehn said. “As we have indicated previously, we believe the court has misapplied and misinterpreted both Missouri law and recent Supreme Court rulings regarding administrative law.”
In 2017, Judge Sippel ruled that Ameren made modifications at the Rush Island plant in Jefferson County to increase energy output without obtaining permits. At the Rush Island plant, Ameren is required to install “scrubber” technology to reduce pollution levels.
Pollution control mandates at the Labadie Energy Center are intended to offset the pollutants released from the Rush Island plant.
According to the ruling, Ameren must use dry sorbent injection (DSI) technology, or a more effective control technology. The updates must be made at the Labadie Energy Center within three years.
The Rush Island plant must be in compliance within 4 1/2 years.
“Air quality monitors at Rush Island Energy Center demonstrate we fully comply with federal air quality standards, and SO2 emissions are lower now than before the projects at issue occurred,” Moehn said. “New source review cases are very complicated, and it is not uncommon for courts of appeals to disagree with legal rulings made by trial courts. We believe we acted appropriately at all times and look forward to presenting those arguments to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.”
The Labadie Energy Center is the largest coal-fired plant in Missouri and one of the largest in the country.
The Clean Air Act was passed by Congress in 1970 to protect the nation’s air quality.
“Scrubber” technology known as flue gas desulfurization (FGD) must be installed at the Rush Island power plant. FGD scrubbers have been widely used to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity generating units for decades, according to the judge’s ruling.
“The judge clearly stated if they put the least expensive pollution controls on Labadie now, they can reduce SO2 emissions by 250,000 tons before its closure in 2036,” Patricia Schuba, president of Labadie Environmental Organization, said. “But by then, they should put on scrubbers now because we have all breathed and been exposed to pollution from their largest plant since 1972.”
There have been excess sulfur dioxide emissions at the Rush Island plant.
Judge Sippel entered a 157-page opinion on the case.