October 5, 2004
Kathy Andria, ABC (618) 271-9605, Ext. 5
Ted Heisel, MCE (314) 401-6218 or (314) 727-0600
Carla Klein, SC (573) 815-9250
Diane Albright, SC (314) 729-7629
Yvonne Homeyer WGNSS (314) 863-3321
Conservation organizations announce $3M settlement with Holcim
Funds will go for land preservation and air quality projects in Illinois and Missouri St. Louis, Mo.
Four local conservation organizations announced today that they
have reached a settlement with Holcim (US) Inc. for $3 million, ending a four-year challenge to Holcim’s efforts to construct a cement plant and limestone quarry in Ste. Genevieve County on the Mississippi River. The four organizations are the American Bottom Conservancy of Illinois, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Webster Groves Nature Study Society. The Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic of Washington University Law School has provided legal representation to the four organizations.
The settlement provides for the establishment of a conservation easement on nearly 2,000 acres of Holcim’s property in Jefferson and Ste. Genevieve counties, as well as the payment by Holcim of $3 million for environmental programs, including land preservation and air quality projects in the bi-state St. Louis region. None of the $3 million dollars from Holcim will be paid to the four local organizations entering into the settlement. All of the money will go directly to projects that will help improve air quality, public health, and land preservation, as follows:
• $1,816,000 for land conservation in Missouri and Illinois;
• $908,000 for air quality monitoring, education and energy efficiency measures in Missouri and Illinois;
• $125,000 to the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic for the Clinic's time and expenses in conducting the lengthy legal challenges to permits for the facility;
• $150,000 to the Ozark Regional Land Trust, which will hold the conservation easement on Holcim’s land.
The four organizations settling with Holcim agreed to drop their legal challenges to the proposed cement plant. Holcim has already received the necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to begin construction.
“Nothing can ever replace the forests and wetlands that will be destroyed by the cement plant and quarry, but the $1.8 million to be paid by Holcim for land conservation will allow us to preserve and protect other valuable land in the St. Louis region,” commented Yvonne Homeyer, President of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society.
“Illinois will receive the majority of the air pollution from this plant,” said Kathy Andria, president of American Bottom Conservancy based in East St. Louis. “We wish those charged with protecting our citizens had required stricter control technologies, but we are pleased that Illinois will share the funds for land preservation equally with Missouri and we look forward to the implementation of the air projects.”
"It was time to put this fight behind us", said Ted Heisel, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. "While not fully offsetting the impacts of Holcim's project, the settlement will result in more public open space, a better understanding of local air quality, and increased energy efficiency in the region."
“Although we appreciate Holcim's willingness to reach this agreement, the settlement does not address all of the Sierra Club's concerns," explains Carla Klein, Chapter Director for the Sierra Club. "We still consider the facility a poor choice for our region and we will continue to watch carefully to ensure that the Holcim facility meets all the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations, once it is operational."