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United States v. Ameren Missouri

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
AMEREN MISSOURI, Defendant. and SIERRA CLUB, Plaintiff-Intervenor,

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          RODNEY W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff-Intervenor Sierra Club moves for partial summary judgment, seeking a declaration that it has organizational standing in this matter. There is no dispute of material fact that (1) some of Sierra Club member's aesthetic and recreational interests have been lessened by Rush Island's excess emissions, and (2) that injury in fact is traceable to Ameren's actions and (3) redressable by the requested relief. The Sierra Club meets the other requirements for organizational standing. As a result, the Sierra Club has standing to seek injunctive relief at the Rush Island coal-fired power plant, and I will grant the Sierra Club's motion for partial summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs in this Clean Air Act case seek injunctive relief requiring Ameren to install the best available control technology (BACT) at Ameren's Rush Island coal-fired power plant. Plaintiffs also seek emissions reductions from another Ameren plant, Labadie Energy Center (“Labadie”), to account for excess emissions from Rush Island. On January 23, 2017, after a bench trial, I found that Ameren violated the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq., by failing to obtain a permit before making major modifications to its Rush Island Plant. (ECF No. 852).

         After trial, I granted the Sierra Club's motion to intervene. [No. 863]. The Sierra Club now moves for partial summary judgment on the issue of standing. The Sierra Club argues that it has organizational standing to seek relief based on the declarations made by four of its members who live or recreate near or downwind of Rush Island. As summarized by the Sierra Club, those declarations state that:

• Douglas Melville lives in the St. Louis area and leads a weekly hiking group on outings throughout the region, including the parks and trails near the Rush Island plant. He is concerned about the health effects of Rush Island's excess emissions on himself and the hikers on his outings, and he has stopped leading hikes in a river bluff area near Rush Island called Fults Hill. (SMF, ¶¶ 22-25).
• Gregg Aubuchon lives in Festus approximately 10 miles from Rush Island, and his concerns about the plant's excess emissions are heightened by the breathing difficulties he experiences when working outside in his yard. He does not experience these breathing issues at his country home 75 miles south of Festus, and so he has been spending increasingly more time at his country home. (SMF, ¶¶ 26-28).
• Gary Kappler also lives in Festus approximately 10 miles from the Rush Island plant, and he frequently goes wade fishing and hunting for archeological artifacts at his family farm located 13 miles from Rush Island. His enjoyment of these activities is diminished by his concerns that the plant's excess emissions increase his risk of health harms. (SMF, ¶¶ 29-31).
• Dale Wojtkowski lives in central Illinois, 39 miles northeast of Rush Island, and he spends considerable time outdoors on his four-acre property. He is concerned about exposure to Rush Island's excess emissions from the westerly winds, and the potential health effects on himself, his wife, and his neighbors. (SMF, ¶¶ 32-34).

(Sierra Club's Memorandum in Support, ECF No. 942 at 4).

         Ameren argues that there are disputes of material fact concerning these four members' Article III standing in this matter. Ameren argues that (1) these individuals have experienced no injury in fact, (2) any injury they have experienced is not traceable specifically to excess emissions from Rush Island, and (3) their own deposition testimony suggests that their alleged injuries are not redressable by the relief sought. Finally, Ameren argues that even if the Sierra Club has established standing with respect to the relief sought at Rush Island, it has not established standing with respect to the relief sought at Labadie.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         For an individual to establish Article III standing, she must show that she

(1) has suffered an “injury in fact” that is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and 3) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that ...


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