January 22, 2018. Great Rivers rejects the US Forest Service’s paradoxically named “Forest Health Initiative,” which calls for logging on 45,000 acres in the Mark Twain National Forest. Great Rivers urges the Forest Service to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement on the project as it will destroy critical habitat for the Indiana bat and other endangered species, as well as exacerbate climate change by eliminating thousands of mature trees. Read more about it here.
We are pleased to welcome a new member to our Board of Directors!
Garrett R. Broshuis is an attorney at Korein Tillery in St. Louis. He received his J.D. from Saint Louis University, where he graduated valedictorian and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Journal. He obtained his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is also an adjunct professor of sports law at Saint Louis University Law School.
Garrett’s law practice focuses on complex litigation. He represents dozens of former minor league baseball players in a wage-and-hour action challenging the pay scheme for minor leaguers. For this work he has been featured on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and numerous other news outlets throughout the country.
Before law school, Garrett played six years in baseball’s minor leagues for the San Francisco Giants. While at the University of Missouri, Garrett also earned both All-American and Academic All-American honors for NCAA Division-I baseball. For four years, he wrote a regular column for two sports magazines, The Sporting News and Baseball America.
In his free time, Garrett enjoys visiting Missouri’s state parks with his wife and two young children, and hopes that those parks are as beautiful for future generations as they are today.
Great Rivers is taking action to ensure that climate change is considered in decisions to approve pipelines. On behalf of Juli Viel, a resident of St. Louis County, Great Rivers filed Comments on the Environmental Assessment in the federal approval process for Spire’s proposed natural gas pipeline slated to be built through a poor minority community of St. Louis County, and to cross the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in the St. Louis area. The Spire Pipeline is planned to run 65 miles through Illinois and Missouri, and 75% of the population within .25 miles of the Project consists of minority and low income communities.
The proposed pipeline will cross the Missouri River near this location in Florissant.
Spire (formerly Laclede Gas Co.) proposes to build the Spire STL Pipeline to access gas from the shale fields of the northeast. This gas is produced by the harmful process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which pollutes water, releases methane (a potent greenhouse gas and the main component of natural gas), and even causes earthquakes. Great Rivers argues that the pipeline is not necessary, as even Spire acknowledges it has no need for additional gas, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conducted an inadequate review of the environmental and social justice effects of the pipeline.
On Monday, Great Rivers also filed a motion to intervene at FERC, which gives it the option to request a new hearing by FERC and appeal the decision to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Viel is calling on FERC to do a full Environmental Impact Statement rather than relying on its incomplete Environmental Assessment.
Ms. Viel, who is a nearby resident, staunchly opposes Spire’s pipeline. It would tunnel under the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and go through the Spanish Lake neighborhood, which is 75% African American.
“There is no need for this pipeline,” said Henry Robertson, Climate and Energy Program Director at Great Rivers. “FERC has a habit of rubber-stamping pipelines. This is completely out of step with a time when it should be facing the reality of climate change.”
Great Rivers is the only nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in Missouri, and provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health. For more information, visit: www.greatriverslaw.org.
Sarah Willey, Great Rivers’ Director of Development and Community Outreach, spent a couple of days visiting Springfield last week. She was able to give presentations to two different groups, the Green County Democratic Alliance and the White River Group of the Missouri Sierra Club.
On Wednesday, October 11th, Sarah spoke to the Democratic Alliance about the importance of environmental law and citizen activism under an anti-environment political administration.
On Thursday, October 12th, Sarah spoke to the White River Group of the Missouri Sierra Club about the history of the Sierra Club’s use of environmental law as a tool in fulfilling their mission. Great Rivers has done a lot of work on behalf of the Missouri Sierra Club, and Sarah’s presentation shared the history of our organization and the ways that we have worked together in the past.
Trivia Night Benefitting Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
Saturday, 6:30-10:00 pm.
The Heights, 8001 Dale Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63117.
Purchase your tickets at brownpapertickets.com.
Thanks to our Sponsor Old Bakery Brewing Company!
Tickets are just $20 per person, or $160 for a table.
Cash prizes for 1st place ($160) and 2nd place ($80)! We’ll have lots of raffle items and a 50/50 raffle.
Free beer, soft drinks, and snacks provided with ticket purchase. Attendees are welcome to bring in additional food and beverage. (No glass bottles, please!)
Tables may have a maximum of 8 players. Tell us who you want to sit with as you place your order; we will do our best to accomodate all requests. We reserve the right to combine groups of 5 or less. (Make new friends!)
“The survival of Missouri’s wildlife is in the hands of Missouri’s Department of Conservation,” said Bruce Morrison, general counsel for Great Rivers Environmental Law Center. “Thankfully the Department appears ready to take this step to protect these animals as a vital part of our State’s ecosystems.”
On August 1st, 2017, Great Rivers staff and board invited our Friends to join us at lunchtime or after work to celebrate our 15th birthday.
The two parties were a wonderful chance to interact with our supporters and reflect on the many victories we celebrated during our first 15 years.
To see more photos of the event, visit our album!
“We are pleased that after two decades, MDNR will finally allow the residents of North St. Louis to comment on air pollution that they breathe and that Mallinckrodt, one of the City’s largest emitters of air pollutants, will have the appropriate permit,” said Great Rivers Environmental Law Center’s Staff Attorney, Bob Menees.
On January 23, 2017, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center filed an appeal in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, on behalf of three County taxpayers asking the Court to prohibit the County from selling a portion of Sylvan Springs Park to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Two appellants are former employees of the St. Louis County Parks Department, and one of those two is also a former employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a veteran of the Vietnam Era. All three are users of Sylvan Springs Park.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) seeks to purchase 38 acres of the 70-acre Park to use as a cemetery. St. Louis County has owned and operated Sylvan Springs Park as a park since 1950, when the County purchased the Park from the U.S. General Services Administration.
The VA wants the Park because the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery is running out of room. Even with the purchase of these 38 acres, the VA will run out of room at Sylvan Springs in approximately 17 years. Critics fear the VA will then seek the additional remaining 32 acres of Sylvan Springs, and even that would not be long-term solution. There are other large sites that have been presented to the VA as possible long-term solutions and that would last the VA for the next century or more, including one in Jefferson County and one in Illinois.
The lawsuit alleges the sale is illegal because the federal government dedicated the park to the County when it originally sold it to the County, and illegal because the County used bonds and taxes dedicated to parks that St. Louis County residents approved at the ballot box. The County has maintained it and the public has enjoyed it as a park for 65 years.
“For over twenty years I worked in the area of the Park and saw thousands of people enjoy it,” said plaintiff Martin Koch. “It would be a travesty to lose this resource of public recreation.”
“A park is a park forever, or it’s not a park,” said Henry Robertson, attorney at Great Rivers Environmental Law Center.
“Although many people feel the VA should have use of park land adjacent to an existing cemetery, the fact that an idea is popular does not make the sale of a park legal,” said Kathleen Henry, President of Great Rivers Environmental Law Center. “The VA should have invested in a long-term solution long ago instead of assuming it would take over this Park.”
The citizens request the Court of Appeals to reverse the lower court and to prohibit St. Louis County from selling a portion of Sylvan Springs Park to the VA for use as a cemetery.
Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health. Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.