Ameren Shareholders Pass Resolution to Address Coal Ash Waste in MO & IL
PEORIA, IL –(ENEWSPF)—May 3, 2018
By: Renner Barsella
Today, Ameren shareholders voted and passed a resolution introduced by Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment that will require Ameren to disclose the impacts of coal ash on the communities it serves. Area residents and Ameren shareholders convened outside of the annual Ameren shareholders meeting to call for clean water and cleaning up of toxic coal ash waste sites around the region.
This resolution would require Ameren to develop a report on the company’s efforts to reduce environmental and health risks posed by coal ash waste. This resolution calls for the report to consider the financial and legal liabilities as well as reputational risks posed by the legacy of coal combustion waste. The report is required to be completed within six months of today’s shareholder meeting.
“We are very happy to get a majority vote. This is a win for public health, water quality, and the long term health of our rivers,” said Sister Barbara Jennings of Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment.
Coal ash, the waste from burning coal, contains heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, boron, and mercury. Weak federal and state rules has allowed this waste, in some instances, to be stored in unlined ponds in river floodplains. Ameren’s coal ash sites have been found to have caused groundwater contamination in both Missouri and Illinois. Shareholder advocacy groups have raised concerns in recent years that these waste sites present an ongoing public health threat and thus are a financial liability that could negatively impact the company image and profits.
“Utilities such as TVA and Duke have learned the hard way that coal ash presents a significant risk to communities and the company’s bottom line. It is in the best interest of both Ameren and its shareholders to clean up coal ash waste sites and ensure communities and groundwater are protected for years to come,” said Andy Knott, a Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club.
While many utilities are opting to move waste to safer storage locations, Ameren plans to cap and leave the waste on site. Many of these sites in Illinois were acquired by Dynegy in 2013 and little has been done to ensure these sites are not continuing to leach harmful metals into area groundwater resources.
“We deserve clean air and water,” said Rachael O’Reilly, Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance (CIHCA). “It’s not fair that a few out of state executives profit while the rest of us pay with our health. We need a commitment to clean up coal ash and support for the communities and workers these companies leave behind.”
Vistra Energy recently took ownership of Dynegy’s Illinois coal plants in a merger valued at $20 billion. Vistra has not announced plans for what it plans to do with coal ash sites that Dynegy acquired from Ameren.
”Ameren dumped these polluting coal power plants with toxic coal ash pits on Dynegy, who thought they could make a quick buck on the deal,” said Andrew Rehn, Water Resources Engineer with Prairie Rivers Network, “now Dynegy is dumping them on Vistra. Meanwhile, the local communities are left to deal with the longer term problems of coal ash and contaminated groundwater.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
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