St. Louis and Missouri get low marks on a range of issues related to the region’s environmental health. That was a report given for an educational lecture series at the Parkway United Church of Christ in West County by the author of Environmental Missouri in May.
According to environmental writer Don Corrigan, the St. Louis region gets many failing grades once again for its failed efforts to clean up PCB and plastics pollution, as well as the West Lake landfill area in Bridgeton that has been contaminated with radiation for decades.
F – Area officials, including Rep. Ann Wagner, R-2nd Congressional District, settled for a flawed, partial cleanup plan in North County that is now in disarray – as experts have found more radioactive waste than anticipated. The plan is on hold.
D – Local officials have passed laws to limit the use of plastic ring holders and plastic bags. Their actions have been voided by the state legislature, controlled by people giving lip service to local control, but only lip service.
D – A few state legislators over the years have tried to limit light pollution that obscures the night sky. Limiting powerful light sources at night can aid and sustain pollinators like bees and migrating birds. The legislative majority in Jefferson City has laughed off these proposals.
D – Local officials have put restrictions on CAFO manure reservoirs which have failed and then dump pig feces into our streams. Local actions have been voided by the state legislature, controlled by people giving lip service to local control, but only lip service. Gov. Mike Parsons has signed their bill stripping the power of local authorities to protect their streams.
B – On the positive side, more and more Missourians are using trails like the Katy Trail and the Greenways in St. Louis. The more nature that hikers and bikers see, the more they want to protect it. Unfortunately, the state legislature refused this session to expand trails on the abandoned Rock Island Line.
B – Missouri educators, like those in the MEEA, are working hard to educate the next generation on environmental and sustainability issues. Nature field trips and green growing activities are enhancing the experience of students. Unfortunately, a number of state legislators have been questioning the books and science language used in classrooms, calling it all part of a United Nations plot that they call “Agenda 21.”
Corrigan gave more grades on the many environmental issues that are covered in his 2014 book, Environmental Missouri: Issues And Sustainability — What you need to know. He said residents need to support local officials who are working to improve the environmental situation, often without the support of those in Jefferson City.
A letter grade of C needs to be given to power companies that are finally seeing the light and making plans to de-commission their coal fired plants and go top renewables. But will the taxpayers get stuck with the bill of cleaning up their coals ash ponds in places like South St. Louis County and Labadie, Missouri?