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Coalition Report

By Ed Smith
Policy Director
Coalition for the Environment

www.moenviron.org

Environmental Debrief on the 2019 Legislative Session

The right to clean water, healthy food access, and public land are a few of the environmental and social justice issues Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) has worked on during our 50 years of service to the state. Of elected officials at the local, state, and federal level, lawmakers at the state level arguably have the most influence on the health of Missourians and fate of our environment, for better or worse. MCE worked with ally organizations on lobby days, testified at committee hearings, and kept our members and readers of The Healthy Planet aware of what is happening in our capitol during the legislative session that ended on May 17th.

The good news is that MCE helped stop a bill that would have removed food assistance for more than 50,000 children and 40,000 adults.

We helped stop an effort to sell the new Eleven Point State Park and prevented an effort to eliminate the automobile emissions program for the St. Louis region. The St. Louis region is already in non-attainment for ozone and the elimination of this program would have made the problem worse, leading to increased red and orange air quality days and more people in the hospital with respiratory problems like asthma.

The bad news is that a bill negating 20 local health ordinances applied to concentrated animal feeding operations passed and will be signed by Governor Parson. Some counties have more stringent setbacks for CAFOs than the state’s minimum standards. This bill takes that local control away and will lead to increased environmental and health problems. MCE also worked to stop a bill that would further criminalize nonviolent civil disobedience at fossil fuel facilities, including those under construction, and create a conspiracy charge for organizations that assist such activities. The last part creates a chilling effect on the right to peacefully assemble, as an organization like MCE could be fined for an individual’s actions, even if we did not coordinate. Our intervention helped lead to the removal of the conspiracy language and language that would have made spray painting a pipeline, for example, a Class C felony.

It was a tough year for the environment. We’ll continue to do our best, and thank you for your support and outreach to lawmakers.

For more information please visit online at www.moenviron.org.

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