ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Ameren coal-fired power plant in Labadie, Missouri is being called one of the nation’s “Toxic Ten.”
The Environmental Integrity Project report indicates measures have been put in place to reduce toxic emissions nationwide. But some plants, like Labadie, continue to churn out thousands of pounds of toxins which are hazardous in small concentrations.
Patricia Schuba is President of the Labadie Environmental Organization.
“The report is information that power plants have reported to the Environmental Protection Agency about the estimates of toxic materials released to the air,” she said, adding that Ameren Labadie was ranked number two on the list in the past.
“What has changed to drop Ameren to the seventh position with about 795 pounds of mercury released to the air per year?,” Schuba questioned.
Ameren would not speak with KMOX. Instead, they released a written statement which read in part, “Mercury is a naturally occurring element and emissions can fluctuate based upon the type of coal burned.”
But, Schuba says, mercury does not simply disappear. “It’s going in the ponds that are leaking in the floodplain near drinking water and near the Missouri River or it’s going somewhere else. Ameren is the only one that can explain that.”
The statement released by Ameren also cited control technologies in Illinois which have resulted in a reduction of mercury emissions and say they continue to look for ways to reduce emissions in a cost effective manner. Schuba is skeptical.
“I question their statement in that they are required in Illinois to put pollution protection equipment on their plants but not here in Missouri,” she said. “The Labadie plant, as far as I know, does not have scrubbers and it does not have pollution protection mechanisms in place. So I’m a little surprised that that number at Labadie has decreased by half.”