Missouri Exports Premature Deaths When Burning Coal Imports 


Edward Smith, edward.smith@sierraclub.org

St. Louis, MO – A report released by Sierra Club today reveals that Ameren Missouri’s Labadie coal plant is the second deadliest for soot in the country, contributing to 195 premature deaths annually. Labadie will cause another 3,387 premature deaths by the time it retires based on the coal plant’s 2019 pollution levels. 

Soot pollution from coal-burning power plants is responsible for 3,800 premature deaths annually according to Sierra Club’s Out of Control: The Deadly Impact of Coal Pollution. Just 17 coal plants are responsible for 1,920 premature deaths due to soot pollution per year - representing over half of premature mortality from the remaining fleet. Missouri is home to two of the 17 coal plants. 

According to the report, 94 Missourians die prematurely annually due to burning coal in our country, with 27 of those people dying prematurely due to coal burning within our state. AECI’s New Madrid coal plant contributes to 90 premature deaths annually. Missouri’s coal plants contribute to 372 premature deaths annually throughout the country, making Missouri a net-exporter of premature deaths because of coal plants that operate within the state. 

Cook County, the home of Chicago, experiences more total premature deaths annually from Labadie and New Madrid pollution than any other county in the country. Sierra Club’s Dirty Truth About Utility Climate Pledges report, released last October, found that Ameren (D) and AECI (F) are among the slowest utilities in the country to move from coal and gas to clean energy.   

Statement from Jenn DeRose, Missouri Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign: 

“Ameren and AECI are importing coal from Wyoming while exporting pollution and premature deaths to downwind states. That’s not what a good neighbor does. Ameren has fought tooth and nail to add modern pollution controls that would prevent pollution and save lives. AECI has modern pollution controls on its New Madrid & Thomas Hill coal plants, but it is not actively using them. I honestly don’t know which is worse, refusing to install life-saving pollution controls or having controls and refusing to use them. 

“These utilities will not operate modern pollution controls unless they are required to, which is why we need stronger federal rules to ensure that every person in our country is able to breathe clean air.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.