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My niece, pictured in this photo, drives me to do the work that I do. I live near Missouri’s largest and dirtiest coal-fired power plant. The air emissions and the fugitive coal ash dust that blow into our community don’t have to be our reality. For the children of this world, we can replace this outdated energy technology with modern, clean methods of energy generation.

Clean Air Ambassador | Labadie, Missouri

Patricia Schuba

As a biologist, I know how important clean air is to life. As a resident living near Missouri's largest and dirtiest coal-fired plant, I know the air and our neighbors are compromised every day. Emissions from our state's coal-fired plants are needlessly condemning a portion of the population to disease and premature death. Together we can demand better. We can ensure that dirty, coal-fired plants are replaced with cleaner energy producing technology. We can write protective coal ash regulations that ensure coal ash heavy metals and disease-causing chemicals do not end up in the air we breathe and the water we drink.

I represent families living in rural Missouri near the state's largest power plant and nation's 15th largest power plant. Unfortunately, it has few pollution control measures, and the lack of regulation makes us sick. There are no scrubbers and it emits approximately 1800 pounds of mercury per year into the air. Tons of pollutants are also dumped into our drinking water in unlined, leaky ponds that impact our groundwater and surface water. Everyone relies on well water for drinking, cooking and agriculture.

We live just upstream from metropolitan St. Louis, MO, on the great Missouri River, near the confluence with the Mississippi River. Our region is encircled by four large, dirty, virtually unmonitored coal-fired plants. One has an unlined ash pound dug 85 feet in to the floodplain. None of the pits are covered and the particulate matter goes airborne.

It is estimated that the region absorbs an additional 750 million dollars in healthcare costs just from the Labadie Power Plant near my home and family. The only air monitor, located near the Rush Island Plant on the Mississippi, shows the plant to be in violation of Clean Air Act regulations.

We deserve clean air and safe drinking water. We deserve monitoring around all sites and cleanup of unsafe sites. We deserve a strong federal EPA coal ash rule that excludes unsafe locations like floodplains and near bodies of water, in mines, dumped in communities in the form of fill, etc.

My community has fought a 1,200 acre regional coal ash dump site in the floodway/floodplain of the Missouri River near our town of Labadie for four years. I hope to share stories of resilience and hope from the heartland.

We deserve clean air and safe drinking water. We deserve monitoring around all sites and cleanup of unsafe sites … I hope to share stories of resilience and hope from the heartland.

50 States United For Healthy Air

Clean air should be a fundamental right. Air pollution causes asthma attacks, lung disease, and even death. But our bodies don't have to be the dumping ground for dirty industries.

The technology to dramatically reduce harmful air pollution is available today, and major polluters should be required to use it.

Clean Air Ambassadors from every state are sending a powerful message: Everyone has a right to breathe clean, healthy air.

It’s time Congress and the EPA used their ears to help our lungs.