ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Some of Ameren’s investors want the utility to step-up environmental testing around it’s coal-fired power plants.
The Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment is concerned about the tons of coal ash stored in retention ponds at Ameren facilities. Components of ash include lead, arsenic, mercury, and selenium which have been linked by studies to cancer and scores of other diseases.
“In many other places in our country, these ash ponds have leaked and seeped into our streams and rivers, ” explains the coalition’s Director, Sister Barbara Jennings. Jennings says there has also been documentation of contamination from coal ash in well and ground water supplies. So the group is planning to introduce a resolution at this week’s Ameren shareholders meeting it hopes will be proactive. Jennings says they’ll ask Ameren for better testing of water supplies near its multiple coal ash ponds in Missouri and Illinois.
Jennings says for investors, it’s not only a humanitarian and environmental concern. “Having lawsuits and catastrophes happen is not a value to shareholders. We ultimately will pay for that. With Ameren, not only shareholders will pay for it, but all of the ratepayers will pay for it.”
Ameren Vice Presidet of Environmental Services Mike Menne says there is no reason to believe there’s any danger that the coal ash could seep into the ground water.
“There’s over 600 similar facilities across the country with these types of ash ponds and to my knowledge there’s never been any issue associated with it that has produced any signficant financial liability ,” Menne says.
He says Ameren is applying for a permit for a new landfill site for the coal ash, and part of the application process requires testing around the plant. He says there is nothing so far that points to any danger in the current ash site.
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