In the letter dated Aug. 5 to Sara Parker Pauley, head of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, DNR, Stenger requests the state set up groundwater monitoring to protect Oakville residents' health living near Ameren's Meramec Energy Center. The coal-fired power plant opened in 1953 at the intersection of the Mississippi and Meramec rivers.
In the letter, Stenger said the monitoring is necessary to determine if contamination exists. It also references monitoring is needed to see how far that contamination may have spread. Stenger said he has serious pollution concerns with the Meramec plant, and asked Pauley to immediately begin monitoring for contaminants in the ground water.
In the letter he writes that in order to protect public health he urges DNR to do two things:
- Require comprehensive
groundwater monitoring of known and/or likely contamination at the
Meramec coal ash ponds.
- Reduce the allowable emissions of sulfur dioxide from the Meramec coal plant to levels that are safe for residents and in accordance with the Clean Air Act."
Stenger said the heavy metals and toxins present in coal ash are dangerous to public health and have been linked with neurological damage and diminished IQ. He also said last summer, Ameren proposed building a new coal ash landfill on top of two ash ponds at the Meramec plant.
"One of those ash ponds is unlined, and the other was found to be leaking 25 years ago," Stenger wrote. "I ask that DNR not make any decisions regarding Ameren's proposed landfill until it obtains a thorough assessment of potential groundwater contamination."
The Sierra Club's "Beyond" Coal campaign organizers and a group of Oakville residents presented a petition with about 1,200 residents' signatures asking for groundwater monitoring at the plant to the County Council at its Aug. 6 meeting.
At that meeting residents quoted from stories that petition signers had submitted about their concerns with the coal-fired power plant.
Click here to view Ameren's response to this request.