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PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: August 6, 2003 
CONTACTS: 
Bea Covington Missouri Coalition for the Environment  (314) 727-0600 
Diane Albright, Carla Klein, Ozark Chapter- Sierra Club (573) 815-9250
Yvonne Homeyer, Webster Groves Nature Stud Society (314)863-3321   
Kathy Andria,American Bottom Conservancy (618) 271-9605, x106

Four Environmental Groups File Suit Against Corps for Holcim Permit Decision

St. Louis, MO.--Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE), Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club (SC), Webster Groves Nature Study Society (WGNSS) and American Bottom Conservancy (ABC) filed suit in federal court today against the Army Corps of Engineers and Holcim (US) Inc., challenging the Corps’ decision to issue permits authorizing Holcim to convert an essentially undeveloped and ecologically rich site along the banks of the Mississippi River in Ste. Genevieve, MO. into a heavily industrialized and highly polluting cement manufacturing facility.

The Corps made the decision to issue the permits without preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) despite requests to do so from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, Illinois EPA, Governor Bob Holden, Senator Dick Durbin, legislators from Missouri and Illinois , 10 national conservation groups and thousands of citizens in the region. 

“If ever there needed to be an EIS, it is for this plant,” said Bea Covington, Executive Director of the Coalition. “It would have unprecedented environmental impacts, be the largest cement kiln in North America and would emit more than 26,000 tons of air pollution annually.”

“We are deeply disappointed with the Corps’ decision to issue these permits without having prepared the comprehensive environmental study required by federal law,” stated Yvonne Homeyer, president of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society.  “Four thousand acres of undisturbed prime habitat for birds, endangered Indiana Bats and other wildlife are about to be destroyed.  Given the extraordinary habitat value of this land, it should be preserved as a natural area instead of being converted into a round-the-clock heavy industrial complex.”

“We believe that the Corps and the other agencies entrusted to protect and oversee the region’s welfare are blind to the consequences of their actions,” said Diane Albright, Endangered Species and
Biodiversity Chair of the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club.  “This project affects not only the 4,000 acres along the Mississippi River in Ste. Genevieve County, but the entire bi-state region, as well.”

“ Illinois lies downwind of the proposed cement kiln,” said Kathy Andria, president of American Bottom Conservancy, based in East St. Louis .  “We are already nonattainment for ozone and fine particulate matter.  This plant could affect the health of citizens in Monroe , St. Clair, Madison , Jersey , Macoupin and Greene counties, according to the company’s own report.  We also believe it will negatively impact our existing industries and our potential for economic growth, said Andria .  “It would be irresponsible of us not to challenge this permit.”

The suit was filed in the Eastern District of Missouri by the Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic and the Environmental Law and Policy Center