Ameren has agreed to disclose its plans to reduce the environmental and health risks of coal ash in Illinois and Missouri.
Company shareholders narrowly approved a proposal requiring Ameren to disclose any water contamination at its current and former coal plants during its annual meeting in Peoria Thursday.
The ash is a by-product of burning coal and contains a number of toxins. Andrew Rhen is a water resources engineer with Prairie Rivers Network. He says there are 25 power plants in Illinois with coal ash waste.
"At all these sites a wide range of contaminants like arsenic, chromium and thallium were present at levels above the drinking water standard. So, coal ash is polluting our environment across Illinois. And while Ameren doesn't own any operating coal fired power plants in Illinois anymore, they're still responsible for coal ash at closed facilities."
Andrew Knott is with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. He says coal ash is known to cause water contamination.
"It is in the best interests of both Ameren and its shareholders to clean-up coal ash waste sites and ensure communities and groundwater are protected for years to come."
Resolution supporters say the company failed to create a clean-up plan when the sites were transferred to new owners or closed. The resolution calls for Ameren to prepare a report within the next six months on the company's efforts to reduce the environmental and health hazards over and above EPA requirements.
Ameren says it's currently implementing federal coal ash rules while making modifications and changes needed to close all ash ponds, and will honor the request for a report.