Policy Changes at City Hall Could Promote Food Security, Increase Nutritious Food, and Expand Economic Opportunities

PRESS RELEASE

Date: June 9, 2017

Contact: Melissa Vatterott, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alderwoman Cara Spencer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

St. Louis, MO: The St. Louis Food Policy Coalition strongly supports changing urban agriculture policies that will promote food security, increase nutritious food, and expand economic opportunities for people throughout the city.

“Our citywide survey found widespread support for expanding urban agriculture policies last year and we’re excited to see that support translate into action,” said Melissa Vatterott, the Food & Farm Policy Director at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and chairs the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition.

Board Bill 52 introduced today by Alderwoman Spencer and Alderwoman Ingrassia allows a person to have up to eight chickens or rabbits based on the size of their property. The current city ordinance only allows for up to four pets, including dogs, cats, chickens, and rabbits.

“This is one part of what will be necessary to ensure our City's sustainability and our residents' access to healthy foods on a long term basis,” said Alderwoman Ingrassia. “Thanks to smart collaboration between the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, Alderwoman Spencer, and a group of dedicated representatives from City departments, we have been able to put together legislation and policy updates guided by residents that will engender positive, impactful changes for urban agriculture in our City,” she added.

Another policy being considered is the direct sale of eggs, honey, and produce from neighbor-to-neighbor. People with home gardens, community gardens, or an urban farm will be able to sell their goods from the property where it is being grown. This policy is needed for expanding nutritious food access and keeping money local.  

“Gardening and urban agriculture presents St. Louis with an opportunity to improve the health, ecology, resilience, and economic prosperity of our neighborhoods, and transform vacant land into a productive community asset,” said  Lucas Signorelli, Executive Director of the St. Louis MetroMarket.  “Most importantly, it puts food sovereignty back into the hands of residents,” he added.

The MetroMarket depends on St. Louis's local urban farmers for sourcing fresh produce onto the bus.

UPDATE: A hearing for the bill is being held in the Kennedy Room at City Hall on Thursday, June 22nd. Click here for the Facebook event info.

View the FAQ on this bill here.

View the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition citywide survey (2016) here.

View MCE’s Regional Food Study (2014) here.

Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri. Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love. MCE’s web address is: www.moenvironment.org

 

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State DNR Yet to Heed Experts on Landfill Fire

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources has not acted on the advice of its expert on addressing the West Lake Landfill fire in Bridgeton where a subsurface fire is threatening radioactive nuclear weapons waste. See the story here.

 

You can see the expert's report here.

 

Help support our work on West Lake. Please become a member today.

Tax Dollars Subsidizing Destruction of Upper Mississippi River

August 13, 2013

Time for Congress to Focus on River Health, Not Corporate Welfare

 

Advocates for the Mississippi River's health are calling on Congress to use taxpayer dollars to restore the river and the economic benefits it provides to local economies and the country instead of subsidizing the destruction of critical ecosystems. A new report by experts from the Nicollet Island Coalition, a group of conservation and economic organizations working in the Upper Mississippi River basin, outlines how to accomplish this.

See the news here. The report is available online at www.iwla.org/restore.

Members of the Nicollet Island Coalition

Izaak Walton League of America, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, National Wildlife Federation, Prairie Rivers Network, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Sierra Club, and Taxpayers for Common Sense

Supreme Court Lets Stand Obstruction of State Renewable Energy Law

For release: April 26, 2017

Contacts:

  • Henry Roberts, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, 314.231.4181 - www.greatriverslaw.org
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Missouri Coalition for the Environment, 314.727.0600 x. 110 - www.moenvironment.org

On April 25, 2017, the Missouri Supreme Court refused an opportunity to enforce the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES), passed by voters in the 2008 election as Proposition C. Great Rivers Environmental Law Center had brought suit on behalf of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE), Missouri Solar Applications and taxpayer Thomas Sager. Great Rivers challenged the action of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), a standing committee of the Missouri legislature, for interfering with the rule passed by the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) to implement the law.

The RES requires the state’s investor-owned utilities (Ameren Missouri, Kansas City Power & Light, and Empire District Electric Company) to ramp up their use of renewable energy to at least 15% of the power they sell to their Missouri customers by 2021. JCAR struck down the “geographic sourcing” provisions of the regulation, with the result that utilities are not required to actually deliver renewable energy to Missouri but can instead buy pieces of paper called “renewable energy credits” from solar and wind projects in faraway places like California.

The Missouri Supreme Court held the case was moot because the Public Service Commission had published a new rule in the intervening years. The issue of JCAR acting unconstitutionally in striking key provisions is left undecided.

“The legislature took geographic sourcing out of the rule. The PSC never thought it could put it back in,” said Henry Robertson, a Great Rivers attorney representing the plaintiffs. “JCAR violated the separation of powers under the Missouri Constitution by interfering with a rule passed by an executive branch agency. The new rule perpetuated this unconstitutional act; it did not make it go away.”

“The decision was disappointing because it undermined the will of the people and the democratic process,” said Heather Navarro, Executive Director of MCE. “Luckily, the cost of renewable energy has come down so much that this decision won’t deter the growth and success of renewables, including the addition of thousands of jobs, that we’ve seen over the last few years.”

“The legislature has a long history of thwarting the vote of the people when they pass laws by ballot initiative,” said Robertson. “The Supreme Court missed a chance to redress this. Fortunately, renewable energy is here to stay even if the legislature and the utilities try to hold back the tide.”

Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health.  Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri. Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love. Its web address is: www.moenvironment.org.

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Settlement between Missouri Coalition for the Environment and Worlds of Fun Will Benefit Shoal Creek Watershed and the Missouri River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: March 9, 2017:

Contacts:

  • Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment                                                                                              

        (314) 727-0600 x112, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Bob Menees, Attorney, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center                                                                                                                            

        (314) 231-4181, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Lia Comerford, Staff Attorney, Earthrise Law Center                                                                                                                                                

        (503) 768-6823, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Kansas City, MO: The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (“MCE”) and Cedar Fair, LP, and its subsidiary, Worlds of Fun, LLC., an amusement park in Kansas City, reached a court-approved settlement agreement that resolves a lawsuit filed by MCE in November 2015. In the lawsuit, MCE alleged that Worlds of Fun had repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act by discharging illegal levels of pollutants into the Missouri River and its tributary, Shoal Creek. The pollutants of concern in the facility’s wastewater and stormwater included chlorine, copper, oil and grease, and total suspended solids.

“We are pleased that Worlds of Fun will reduce its pollution to the Shoal Creek watershed and the Missouri River and that the various projects planned under the settlement will help improve water quality in the area,” said Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator for MCE.

The settlement agreement requires Worlds of Fun to develop and implement a Facility Compliance Plan to ensure the amusement park will meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act. The plan must be developed by a professional engineer and will include “green infrastructure” and an educational kiosk explaining how stormwater pollution threatens water resources and the benefits of restoring natural infrastructure to curb these negative impacts.

Worlds of Fun is also required to spend $100,000 on supplemental environmental projects in the Shoal Creek watershed. These funds will be shared between Stream Teams United and Bridging the Gap, Inc., both Missouri non-profit organizations that work on environmental projects and water quality monitoring in the Kansas City area and throughout Missouri. Stream Teams United will use its share of the funds to create a Shoal Creek Stream Team to monitor water quality and conduct river cleanups in the watershed. Bridging the Gap will use its share of the funds to implement on-the-ground restoration projects to improve water quality within the watershed.  Worlds of Fun will also pay MCE’s litigation costs and attorneys fees in the lawsuit.

MCE is represented by Great Rivers Environmental Law Center and Earthrise Law Center.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri.  Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love. Its web address is: www.moenvironment.org.

Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health. Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.

Earthrise Law Center is the environmental law clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

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MCE Files Suit Against Worlds of Fun Alleging Clean Water Act Violations

Missouri Coalition for the Environment Files Suit Against Worlds of Fun Alleging Clean Water Act Violations

Date: November 17, 2015:

Contacts:

  • Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment

(314) 727-0600 x12, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Bob Menees, Attorney, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center

            (314) 231-4181, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Lia Comerford, Staff Attorney, Earthrise Law Center

            (503)768-6823, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Missouri River and Kansas City Skyline, Photo Credit: MCE

Kansas City, MO: The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) has filed suit against Cedar Fair and a subsidiary for repeated and significant Clean Water Act violations at Worlds of Fun amusement and waterpark in Kansas City. More than 60 days have passed since MCE sent a Notice of Intent to File Suit (NOI) to Cedar Fair and MCE is not convinced the company is committed to resolving the causes of its permit violations at the facility and the subsequent water pollution entering Missouri River tributaries. MCE’s lawsuit alleges Worlds of Fun has consistently violated its federal discharge permit for at least the last five years.

Worlds of Fun is a subsidiary of Cedar Fair, which operates 14 other parks nationwide, according to its website. The facility’s permit specifies pollution discharge limits for a number of pollutants, including chlorine, oil and grease, copper, pH, and total suspended solids. Worlds of Fun has regularly exceeded its allowable limits, discharging pollutants into two tributaries of the Missouri River, including Shoal Creek. Worlds of Fun has also failed to adequately monitor and report its own discharges. 

The Missouri River flows over 500 miles through the State of Missouri. More than half of Missourians get their drinking water from the river and it is used for various other purposes, such as recreation, power generation, and the provision of ecosystem services. The Missouri River also provides habitat for various fish and wildlife, including the endangered pallid sturgeon. “All of us who depend on the river and its tributaries for drinking water and recreation are paying the costs Worlds of Fun avoids in not complying with its permit. Polluting the Missouri River at the expense of the public and the environment is unacceptable,” said Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator for MCE.

Bob Menees, an attorney with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center representing MCE, said, “The documents we obtained from the Department of Natural Resources reveal the facility’s self-reported permit exceedances to be ongoing and egregious. Such flagrant violations of state and federal clean water rules are a clear threat to water quality in the Missouri River.”

MCE is represented by Great Rivers Environmental Law Center and Earthrise Law Center.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri.  Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love. Its web address is: www.moenvironment.org.

Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health. Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.

Earthrise Law Center is the environmental law clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

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The Gulf Dead Zone

Read more: The Gulf Dead Zone

Lawsuit Settlement Compels EPA to Develop Nutrient Pollution Protections for Missouri Lakes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date: December 8, 2016

Contacts: 

  • Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  (c) (309) 212-6708, (o) (314) 727-0600 x12

  • Elizabeth Hubertz, Assistant Director and Attorney, Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (314) 935-8760

St. Louis, MO: The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) settled a lawsuit on December 7, 2016 with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its mandatory duty to issue effective nitrogen and phosphorus standards for lakes in Missouri.

“The establishment of nutrient standards for lakes is an important step toward thorough protections of our irreplaceable water resources in Missouri,” said MCE Water Policy Coordinator, Alicia Lloyd.

Nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, are among the biggest polluters of the nation’s waters. This pollution contributes to fish kills and algal blooms, threatens drinking water sources, and is ultimately responsible for the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The settlement requires EPA to propose numeric nutrient water quality standards for Missouri lakes by December 15, 2017, if the state does not develop adequate standards before then. MCE hopes the settlement deadline gives Missouri time to work towards state-specific standards that support a healthy water supply for all Missourians,” said Liz Hubertz, counsel at Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic representing MCE.

EPA is required by law to issue appropriate standards when the state fails to do so. To this day, neither Missouri nor U.S. EPA have adopted nutrient standards for any class of water bodies and, therefore, all but a handful of the state’s lakes remain unprotected against nutrient pollution. Five years after EPA disapproved Missouri’s standards due to insufficient protections, the lawsuit, filed on February 26, 2016 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, sought to compel EPA to establish these standards for Missouri lakes.

The settlement comes just weeks following the release of a report entitled “Decades of Delay” on nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin produced by the Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC), a group of environmental organizations, of which MCE is a member. MRC criticizes basin states and the EPA for delaying efforts to address nutrients in the nation’s waters in light of the expanding Dead Zone and increased pollution. The report demonstrates how EPA inaction has negatively impacted water quality in lakes as well as rivers and streams and calls the Agency to step up protections in Missouri and throughout the Mississippi River basin.

“Missouri has been dragging its feet on developing nutrient criteria for lakes for over ten years,” said Lloyd. “The state’s efforts to establish nutrient standards for rivers and streams has also been stalled for years.”

The Consent Decree was signed just as EPA released its National Lakes Assessment detailing the extent of nutrient pollution in the nation’s lakes. As of 2012, 40% of all U.S. lakes had excessive levels of total phosphorus and 35% had excessive total nitrogen. According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri is among the top contributors of both phosphorus and nitrogen to the Dead Zone.

MCE is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization based in St. Louis, Missouri. MCE is represented by the Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic. Visit www.moenvironment.org for more information.

 

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Survey Results Indicate New Policies Needed to Support Urban Agriculture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     

Date: December 13, 2017

Contact: Melissa Vatterott, (314) 581-0561This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Survey Results Indicate New Policies Needed to Support Urban Agriculture in St. Louis City

 

St. Louis, MO: Onsite sales of produce and eggs, allowing for more backyard chickens, and making it easier for city residents to purchase land for food production purposes are some of the recommended policy changes needed to enhance local agriculture according a survey by the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition. The survey was completed by 854 city residents in 75 of the city’s 79 neighborhoods. 

“We conducted the survey to build a foundation for changing local food policy,” said Melissa Vatterott, director of the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition. “It is clear there are barriers standing in the way of accessing local, nutritious food and we intend to change that.”

Nearly 100 people surveyed said they would like to sell either their produce or eggs from a stand in their yard or community garden. Of those who indicated encountering obstacles to gardening or farming in the city, 28% reported the inability to sell produce or eggs from their home or community garden as an issue for them.

The City of St. Louis only allows four total animals on any given lot, including dogs, cats, chickens, and rabbits. 63% of the respondents are in favor of allowing more chickens and rabbits, with another 21% wanting to learn more. 

“Small towns and big cities are addressing food access in ways that can be repeated here in St. Louis,” said Alderwoman Cara Spencer. “The results from this survey will be valuable for the next mayor and board of alderman to support agriculture policies that are responsive to our constituents.”  

The most popular recommendation, with 77% support, is that the city needs to make it easier for, and give preference to, residents in the City of St. Louis to purchase land for food production purposes. In addition, of those who reported encountering land use obstacles to gardening or farming, more than half reported land prices are too high for just growing food, a quarter said residential tax rates are too high for just growing food, and nearly half reported LRA’s garden lease program as an obstacle because it does not guarantee the lots will not be purchased by someone else. 

 "Urban agriculture provides numerous benefits, including improving food access, beautifying neighborhoods, and providing economic opportunities for city residents," said Vatterott. "It's a tool we can use to address some of the environmental and social injustices seen in our city and we hope the next mayor will make it a priority." 

“In most of our projects, the community garden often becomes more than just a place to grow food for the people in the neighborhood,” said Steve Hutchison, President of Revitalization 2000 and cofounder of The Ville Collaborative. “Nutrition education, how to garden, the science of gardening, and beautification help bring hope to distressed neighborhoods.” 

Results from the survey are being released in the aggregate, by ward, and by region (north, central, south). 

“The Department of Health looks forward to working with Alderwoman Ingrassia, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, and the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition on the next steps to developing an urban agriculture policy that makes sense for our city,” said Melba Moore, acting director of the city’s Health Department.

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Click here to view the survey results. 

 

Report Reveals State Failures to Manage Nitrogen & Phosphorus Pollution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 17, 2016

 

CONTACT:  

Matt Rota, Gulf Restoration Network                        Kris Sigford, Minnesota Center for Env. Advocacy

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.(504)-525-1528                    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.(651)-287-4864

 

Peter Goode, Washington Univ. Env. Law Clinic    Alicia Lloyd, Missouri Coalition for the Env.           

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  (314) 935-4507                       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.(314)727-0600 x12

         

 

ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION CALLS ON EPA TO STEP UP EFFORTS

TO REDUCE NITROGEN & PHOSPHORUS POLLUTION IN MISSISSIPPI RIVER

 New Report Reveals Most States Failing to Manage Nitrogen & Phosphorus Pollution

 

Mississippi River – The Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC) today released a report that implores the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take specific actions to regulate excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in state waters along the Mississippi River because those 10 states haven’t achieved any significant pollution reductions on their own.

MRC, a partnership of 13 environmental and legal groups, authored the report–entitled “Decades of Delay”–to assess state-level progress to reduce the pollution that threatens drinking water supplies for millions of Americans and causes so-called dead zones that cannot support aquatic life. 

“The results of the EPA’s hands-off approach with the Mississippi River basin states are massive algae blooms and nitrate contamination that make our drinking water unsafe and render lakes and rivers unfit for recreation,” said Kris Sigford, Water Quality Director at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, an MRC partner. “The Mississippi River Collaborative again calls upon EPA to exercise its Clean Water Act oversight duties and treat the Mississippi as the treasure it is.”

The report suggests six specific steps EPA can take to protect human health and water quality in the Mississippi River. Recommendations include setting numeric limits of allowable nitrogen and phosphorus in state waters, assessing water quality for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that creates impaired waterways, and ensuring states develop nutrient reduction strategies with specific implementation plans and adequate funding.

“This report reflects a continuing failure to monitor and address the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in basin states that causes the Gulf Dead Zone,” said Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, an MRC member. “The public should be aware of the extent of nutrient pollution in our waters. We need to step up action to address it.”

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Decades of Delay Executive Summary.

Decades of Delay Full Report.

Read more about the report and nutrients in Missouri on the Clean Water Reflections blog.

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