WELOME TO THE LEO HOMEPAGE
Campaign to Save Our Bottoms:
Updates and County Developments
Much has happened in just the past few weeks that we wish to share with our supporters and the public. Franklin County decided to write NEW, first ever zoning regulations on Utility (coal ash) and Non-Utility (everything else) Landfills. In a matter of a week they announced a public hearing, but it seems a “public hearing” will be the usual Planning and Zoning Meeting scheduled for JUNE 15, 2010 in Union. The County gave notice in the Missourian over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend and we received the only public disclosure of the proposed guidelines because of a Sunshine Law request. LEO geared up to inform and turnout the public only to be told that the proposed regulations had been AMENDED to exclude Utility Landfills from 100 year floodplains. This caused pause, but we knew there had to be a way around the definitions used. Our concern is that AmerenUE will build a levee that takes the Labadie Bottoms OUT of the 100 year floodplain and with these new regulations, allows them a clear path through the permitting process. We would still be stuck with toxic heavy metals potentially coming in contact with ground water, exposure to air-borne particulate matter, issues with increased industrial road traffic (bringing in waste from other plants), depressed land values, blemished view from adjacent communities, the bluffs and across the river…to name just a few potential issues that must be explored.
THE MATTER IS GRAVE AND THE TIME IS URGENT. LEO is calling on YOU to demand a public discussion of the proposed regulations and inclusion of protective measures that ensure coal ash is not placed in the Labadie Bottoms or similar vulnerable sites. The County Planning and Zoning Commission and County Commissioners need to know that taking the landfill out of the 100 year floodplain will not protect us where hydrology, dispersal, leaching or erosion would put the environment or our communities at risk. DEMAND expert and community input in designing any regulations proposed. JOIN US AT THE JUNE 15TH PUBLIC HEARING AT THE FC GOVERNMENT CENTER, 400 E LOCUST, UNION MO 63084 (on the southeast corner of the Old Court House Square). Talk with your neighbors and family AND get involved.
Please help us by:
- Signing the ONLINE PETITION (see tab on the right)
- Bringing a carload of family and friends to the JUNE 15th Hearing in Union (see flier below)
- Visit this site frequently to get updates, volunteer, and donate as you can to LEO CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE BOTTOMS LEGAL FUND
- Contact us if you have a personal contact with the Planning and Zoning Commissioners/County Commissioners OR have a reason to testify against these changes which would allow Coal Ash Landfills in Franklin County. Email the website or Ginger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Visit the LEO Booth at the COMMUNITY PICNIC JUNE 5TH LABADIE MO
- Visit the LEO Booth at the CRUISE NIGHT JUNE 26TH PACIFIC MO
Labadie Environmental Organization
P.O. Box 112, Labadie, MO 63055-0112
If you would like to be on our mailing list (email), ask a question, share a comment, or volunteer to help, please complete and submit the following form. We’ll be in touch.
FLOODPLAINS: GIANT SPONGES OR CONCRETE SKIRTS?
Remember those high school exercises in logical thinking? Students were told to delete the statement in the group that ran counter to the sense of the whole. Here’s a quiz like that for our time and place:
- During periods of high water the floodplains bordering the Missouri and Mississippi rivers act as giant sponges to absorb water and control flooding.
- Regional rainfall has increased in amount and severity in recent years. Missouri ranks second in the nation in deaths attributed to flooding. Sites in Missouri and Iowa have had two 500 year floods in the last 15 years. Many climate models predict that in a warming world, precipitation and flood events will increase even more in the near future.
- FEMA has moved entire towns out of the flood plains in this region because of the certainty of reflooding. At taxpayers expense , Grafton and Valmeyer, Il., and Rhineland, Mo., have all been moved to higher ground.
- The Army Corps of Engineers is building dikes and levees to help development move into the floodplain. Developments scheduled for the near future, built behind the perceived safety of the levees, include a 900 acre mixed use development in Glen Carbon, Il.; 4200 acre mixed use in Maryland Heights; 550 acre development in Kansas City on ground under water in 1993, and Ameren’s coal combustion waste landfill in Labadie also on ground flooded in 1993.
The irrationality of building in the flood plain comes at a staggering cost to taxpayers. Land owners who build without insurance and subsequently get flooded will get federal disaster mitigation monies to repair and rebuild.
The federal government and taxpayers are also on the hook when the insured get flooded. Approved in 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program provides flood insurance to flood plain builders in communities that agree to adopt a floodplain management ordinance. What was meant to be protection for a few already located in the flood plains has been incentive for a commercial boom that threatens to turn miles of once-absorbent river ground into a concrete skirt. Cheap insurance and rates that do not reflect risk have fueled the irresponsible growth. Tax hungry municipalities have facilitated it.
Out of seven states flooded in 1993, Missouri ranked first in building in the floodplain after waters receded, according to a Post-Dispatch study. The state accounted for 78 percent of all the new flood plain building in the seven state region. Meanwhile, a 2004 Congressional study found that federal flood insurance payouts for repetitive loss properties cost the taxpayers $200 million annually. Carolyn Kousky, in a paper published in 2008 entitled “Improving Flood Insurance and Flood Risk Management, suggests that if rates reflected the risk of flooding , it would be a disincentive for flood plain development.
Another suggestion from environmentalists is to reprioritize the mandate of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the agency charged with management of federal waterways and floodplains. At present, the agency sees itself as the enabler for floodplain building, constructing levees and avoiding environmental impact studies. The Obama administration is considering an executive order that would redirect the agency to a primary mission of floodplain restoration and protection. It would require the agency not to oppose any flood plain building for which there is a practical alternative. Makes sense!