Earthrise Helps Reach Settlement Against One of the Largest Midwest Coal Power Producers
Earthrise Law Center has helped reach a settlement in Sierra Club v. Ameren Missouri, No. 14-cv-00408 (E.D. Mo. filed March 5, 2014), a Clean Air Act citizen suit brought against three aging coal-fired power plants in the St. Louis area owned by one of the Midwest’s largest public utilities. As a result of the settlement, Ameren will spend $2 Million over the next two years on clean energy projects to benefit the public, at least $1M of which will go towards the purchase of electric busses for public transit in metro St. Louis.
The lawsuit alleged that Ameren had committed over 8,000 violations of the opacity limits applicable to the Labadie, Meramec, and Rush Island power plants since 2009. Opacity is a measure of the degree to which light passes through a smoke plume, and it is used by regulators as a means of limiting emissions of particulate matter. Sierra Club agreed to settle the case in part because Ameren announced its intent to retire the Meramec plant, the most egregious violator of the three plants at issue in the case, by 2022. Earthrise expects that other improvements made to the plants’ emissions controls during the pendency of the suit in order to comply with EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics (“MATS”) rule will improve their opacity compliance going forward.
Earthrise attorney and Assistant Clinical Professor Jamie Saul represented the Sierra Club on this case, as part of a litigation team that included in-house counsel at Sierra Club and several attorneys at the Chicago-based civil rights and environmental firm Miner Barnhill & Galland P.C. The Madison, Wis. law firm McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC also contributed during the early stages of the case.