It wasn't exactly a "beauty" pageant but local environmentalists say that was the idea as they held a mock pageant of their own. They gathered along the St Louis riverfront at Poplar Street and S. Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd to name what they consider the most dangerous toxic water polluters in St. Louis.
Members of the Sierra Club from St. Louis, Franklin and Jefferson counties held a “Miss and Mr. Toxic Water Pollution” pageant. Residents dressed in hazmat suits represented Ameren’s coal-fired power plants in the St. Louis metro area. They are trying to get the EPA's attention about what they say is the dumping of arsenic, lead, boron and selenium from Ameren Missouri’s Meramec, Sioux, Rush Island and Labadie coal-fired power plants into Missouri waterways.
The groups, Sierra Club Beyond Coal and Sierra Club Missouri say they want stronger federal standards limiting toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants. The mock pageant coincides with a new national report released by a coalition of environmental and clean water groups, including the Sierra Club. The report reviewed nearly 400 coal plant water permits across the country and its findings highlight the need for strong national coal plant water pollution standards.
The environmental groups claim existing guidelines written to limit toxics discharged from coal plants do not cover many of the worst pollutants such as those discharged in the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec Rivers, and have not been updated in more than 30 years.
In April 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first ever national standards for toxics dumped into waterways from coal plants.
A circuit court judge had ruled last month that the Franklin County Commission acted lawfully when it approved zoning changes allowing the development of the landfill. Ameren Missouri has since filed for a permit to build the coal ash landfill next to its Labadie power plant.
But the Labadie Environmental Organization is now appealing the court's decision.