We invite you to nominate an environmental champion for a Lewis C. Green Environmental Service Award! Individuals and organizations are eligible. Selected recipients will be recognized by Great Rivers Environmental Law Center at the Lewis C. Green Awards Party on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at the Whittemore House.
Nominees should have a demonstrated long-term commitment to preservation of the environment.
All nominations are due by April 1, 2019.
CLICK HERE to submit a nomination today!
A list of past recipients of the Lewis C. Green Environmental Service Award is available here.
On February 12, 2019, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) on a proposal for implementing Congress’ Water Resources Development Acts of 2018 and 2016. The Water Resources Development Acts authorize a wide variety of water resource projects and policies administered by the Army Corps.
In its comments Great Rivers urged the Army Corps to ensure that federal investments in the nation’s water resources protect and restore the environment, as well as increase the resiliency of people and wildlife to climate change. The increasing storms, floods, and droughts now being brought about by climate change make it more important than ever that the Army Corps use modern and environmentally sound approaches when planning water resources projects.
The comments strongly support the use of natural infrastructure solutions to reduce flood and storm damages, and call for an increased commitment from the Army Corps to using these solutions. Particular recommendations urge the Army Corps to state explicitly that temporary interests in land are not appropriate for restoration, or for natural infrastructure projects, as these temporary interests would negatively impact long-term ecological sustainability. Additionally, Great Rivers encourages the removal of infrastructure projects that no longer serve a federal interest, in order to open up opportunities for ecosystem restoration that will benefit people and wildlife. Further, Great Rivers suggests the Corps be open to considering modifications to a project, up to and including removal of the project entirely, if the change would improve the overall quality of the environment.
Great Rivers’ comments address Army Corps water resources projects across the United States. These projects include restoration, flood control, shoreline protection, and fish and wildlife management.
Finally, to ensure full transparency, Great Rivers proposed that the public be given at least 60 days to review and comment on the scope and impact of water resource development projects. Great Rivers also made suggestions for how the Army Corps could ensure its compliance with requirements imposed under related environmental laws.
A summary of the comments follows, and the full document is available for viewing here.
Summary of comments on “Implementation Guidance for Water Resources Development Acts”
Guest column by Dan McFarlane
As we approach Valentine’s Day, those of us with a significant other or spouse are usually thinking of some sort of gesture or combination of things that will show their love and appreciation for their special someone. But all of us can show some love for the environment, and specifically renewable energy sources, and not just on Valentine’s Day. So in honor of Cupid’s day in the limelight, here are a few reasons why I love that good clean energy.
Have a happy Valentine’s Day and remember that we’re all deserving of love no matter our circumstances!
Written by Dan McFarlane, a member of Great Rivers’ Young Professionals Board
Chalaun Lomax, a senior at Washington University, will be joining Great Rivers as an intern for the spring semester! Originally from West Chester, Ohio, Chalaun is double majoring in history and anthropology. Chalaun has previously completed internships with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Washington University’s Office of Alumni and Development. She has also researched gender representation in the United States Foreign Service and has completed an externship at the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. She is so excited to work with Great Rivers this semester, and we are equally excited to have her working with us!
At Washington University, Chalaun is a staff reporter for the student newspaper, as well as a mentor in Strive for College, an organization that connects aspiring college students with free, one-on-one, online mentoring through the entire college admissions and financial aid application process. As an executive board member of Strive for College, Chalaun co-leads a classroom of high school juniors and guides them through curriculum preparing them for the college application process. She serves as a member of both the Student Conduct Board and the Undergraduate Council and is currently a member of the Campus Interview Team at WU Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
A dedicated group of Franklin County residents spoke yesterday at a public hearing regarding a developer’s request to re-zone land near their homes so he can build a concrete plant. Great Rivers has represented a group of citizens on this matter since 2014.
Landvatter Enterprises, LLC, proposes to build a ready-mix concrete plant on tree-covered hills just 600 feet from the Shaw Nature Reserve in Franklin County. There are dozens of houses and apartments in the area between the Nature Reserve and the proposed plant. The homeowners believe the proposed plant will cause them to breathe in dust, suffer from noise and increased traffic, and believe that the wildlife, fish, birds, flora and fauna in the Nature Reserve will also suffer from the plant.
A handful of residents who could make the hearing at 12:30 pm on a weekday urged the Franklin County Comission to reject the developer’s request for rezoning. They cited the impact a concrete plant would have on their quality of life, interrupting the quiet and tranquil atmosphere of their neighborhood, and concerns that the air pollution from the plant would negatively impact their health. Additionally, they expressed concern over how the plant would harm local wildlife. One resident pointed out that, ironically, the developer’s wife once went on record about a new wedding venue proposed near her own residence and did not want that nuisance in her backyard… and stated he would certainly prefer a wedding venue to the concrete plant if the developer wanted to change his business plan!
Mavis Huff, a longtime homeowner adjacent to the property the developer now owns, said, “People are more important than money – and we were here first.”
Kathleen Henry, President of Great Rivers, told the Commission that “the County doesn’t exist to make one person a profit at the expense of others.”
The County Commission is expected to make a decision within a month to rezone the land allowing a concrete plant or to deny the request for rezoning.
For more information on the history of this fight, you can check out our past blog posts:
Citizens in Hillsboro, MO who have been working hard to preserve the air and water quality as well as the landscape near their homes since learning last year of a developer’s plans to build a silica sand mine got some good news on Friday – the developer has shelved plans to build a silica sand mine near their homes! This important agricultural and residential area will be preserved, and the hard work of many dedicated people trying to save their neighborhood really paid off.
Great Rivers Environmental Law Center has represented the citizens since the spring of 2018. First the citizens convinced the Planning and Zoning Board to deny the application for the silica sand mine. Then the citizens achieved the same result with the County Commission.
The silica sand from the proposed mine would be used for fracking, which is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
The County denied the application for many reasons, including that the proposed mine would destroy the tranquility and quality of life for residents in the neighborhood, the mine would cause an increase in traffic, noise, dust, health hazards and stormwater runoff to the surrounding residential area, and the mine would cause increases in noise, water and air pollution.
But then the developer sued, asking the court to reverse the decision of the County Commission and seeking monetary compensation. The citizens sought intervention in that lawsuit, and they as well as the County argued the lawsuit was without merit. On January 10, the developer dropped his request that the court reverse the order of the Commission. The developer still is seeking monetary compensation from Jefferson County in order to make up what he will not make by not being able to mine in this location. Furthermore, the developer has been purchasing other parcels of land, so although one neighborhood is spared, more may be in danger of being polluted. Great Rivers and the citizens who have been active will watch to see what happens next.
The motion to intervene is rescheduled for a hearing on February 1, 2019 in the Jefferson County Circuit Court. The citizens are weighing their request for intervention on the basis of this new development in the lawsuit.
Dan serves on Great Rivers’ Young Professionals Board, and has led various committees during his service. Most recently, he led the events committee through the planning and execution of a Trivia Night in November 2018. He became involved as a founding member of the Young Professionals in 2016, because he wanted to work with an environmental non-profit in the St. Louis area.
Outside of Great Rivers, Dan works as a Staff Scientist for ATC Group Services, an environmental consulting firm with a St. Louis branch. He stays busy as a martial arts instructor with the karate school at Saint Louis University, and pursuit of a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from University of Illinois at Springfield to be finished in Fall 2019. Dan is very close to his family, including his grandmother, who is one of his biggest inspirations and motivators in life.
We asked Dan a few questions so you can get to know him better:
Who’s your favorite superhero?
Batman, because Batman is the best, get out of here with Superman.
What was the best compliment you ever received?
Being told by my instructors that me and my co-instructor have done a great job at keeping the SLU Karate school going, after a rough start.
Something you might be surprised to learn about Dan: he loves tattoos.
Thanks for all you do for Great Rivers, Dan!
This New Year, make a new commitment to supporting the local environment!
The first $5,000 in new monthly donations in January 2019 will be matched dollar for dollar by Steve Maritz. So if you sign up to give a $20 per month donation, your January donation is worth $40!
It’s so easy to become a Sustaining Donor for Great Rivers today – just enter your card information once, and your gift reaches us automatically each month.
Our Sustaining Donors make a big difference – even small amounts add up, and your gifts ensure that we are always ready to help when someone calls looking for help.
You can change or stop your donation at any time.