LEO: Bringing Together People to Protect the Big Muddy, Floodplains and Drinking Water

Published: June 11, 2014

Presentation by Patricia Schuba, Labadie Environmental Organization

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Westport Coffeehouse Theater – 4010 Pennsylvania Ave. Kansas City, MO

In the fall of 2009, the topic of a proposed coal ash landfill  in the Missouri River floodplain monopolized the conversation at a local book club meeting in the small river town of Labadie, home of Ameren Missouri’s largest coal-fired power plant. Within one month, the group had organized as a nonprofit and held its first meeting in the basement of a local church.

The group is now called Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO) . The group has been a key force in mobilizing local opposition to permitting of coal ash storage in the Labadie Bottoms, a section of Missouri River floodplain upstream of the St. Louis area.


LEO’s success has been in giving voice to local people and in doing so, has begun the reclaiming of community power in making decisions that impact the environment and local economies. LEO President Patricia Schuba shared the story of how LEO formed and how it stayed true to its original mission to represent and empower impacted communities. She shared organizational choices which allowed LEO to stay together and effectively lobby on behalf of the floodplain and people. She shared information on the dangers of coal ash, current issues in energy and waste policy she is watching and how to message effectively on complicated scientific issues and how to build cross-community support.

Patricia Schuba is the President of Labadie Environmental Organization and the Director of the Coal Ash Program at Citizens Coal Council.


Resources and Links

News articles on Labadie floodplain fight

Patricia’s Recommended Reading

We asked Patricia for her suggestions to read up on coal ash issues. Here’s her top 3:

The Big Muddy Speakers Series in Kansas City

is hosted by these wonderful partners!

Thanks to all of our venue hosts for making this possible! Click here for a list of upcoming presentations» The Big Muddy Speaker Series is also held monthly in Rocheport and St. Charles.

Recordings of Presentations

Kansas City Digital Video has been recording Big Muddy Speaker Series presentations. These are available on their website at this link. Some contain synchronized powerpoint presentations. We will be posting these to the archived presentation pages on bigmuddyspeakers.org. Thanks Micheal Morgan and crew for putting this important archive online! The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

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