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Busch's Belleau Farm Leads Way to Greener Future

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 “Today, we are here to acknowledge another milestone in Belleau’s proud history,” announced Adolphus Busch IV at a gathering of environmentally-friendly civic and political leaders held on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at Belleau Farms.  The moment marked the introduction of Belleau Farm’s 10-kilowatt solar electric system designed by Farmergy of Kirkwood and designed to cut Belleau Farm’s energy costs in half. It is anticipated that the $100,000 project will pay for itself within 10 years.

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Belleau Farm is a 2000-acre working farm located in the Mississippi River Flood Plain off Highway 79 and a home to Busch since the 1970’s. The lovely rustic home is surrounded by fields of corn, soybeans and wheat, grazing cattle, picturesque lakes and the specific wildlife that thrive in flood plain locales.

Busch explained, “The increasing cost of energy is on all of our minds. My decision to install this solar unit was based on the fact that it is capable of providing much of the energy to run my home and the immediate farm area. What is not used is sold back to AmerenUE. This is just the first of many renewable energy projects that I envision here at Belleau.”

Busch took the opportunity to specifically thank District 24 Senator Joan Bray(D) and the Senate Commerce and Environment Committee for their leadership in the passing of the “Easy Connect Act”.  The “Easy Connect Act”, passed in late spring 0f 2007, increased the amount of credit for any additional excess power generated from the solar system  and  transferred back to the existing power grid for other users.  He encouraged legislators to continue to work on legislation that will establish more incentives for the use of renewable energy.

Cost savings is not the driving reason behind Busch’s newest commitment to preserve the environment. The Busch Families are long time supporters of ecological balance, preservation of the environment for future generations, and the community as a whole. Adolphus Busch IV is also a driving force in the preservation of the historic confluence flood plain.

Busch also addressed the confluence flood plain issue. “This land sits at the confluence of our nation’s largest rivers,” Busch expounded. “It has withstood many floods. We have always recognized those risks but remain committed to our land. It is impossible to control a river. You adapt and recover.”

“Our Nation’s attempt’s to control the rivers (by use of levees) are a problem that has finally come home to roost,” he explained.  “The Corps of Engineers has rightfully been challenged and chastised.”

Busch refers to the stoppage of a major levee project in Jefferson City and the massive St. John’s Bayou levee project near Haiti, Missouri.  “We are gratified that in both court decisions, the judges made statements critical of the Corps of Engineers,” Busch said. “Most recently, Federal Judge James Robertson actually scolded the Corps for “manipulating models and changing definitions to create the illusion that the project complied with federal laws when it actually did not.”

Busch continued with the reminder, “Commercial development is encroaching this land. Many developers have seen the financial opportunity to build mammoth commercial properties with the flawed endorsement of a clearly unsound Corps of Engineers leading them.  Developers have constructed huge earthen levees to surround their commercial properties with some false sense of security that they will never face a flood inside those walls.  To those developers (and the municipalities that offer them huge tax incentives) we wish to offer this simple advice. There are only two kinds of levees: those that have failed and those that will eventually fail.”

Busch asked, “Simply remember the great Flood of `93. Here in the confluence flood plain, it was six months of hardship, but in the Chesterfield Valley it was a financial catastrophe followed by a taxpayer bailout. The developer’s answer was to build an even bigger levee designed by the Corps.”

The result of this environmentally irresponsible action will be higher, faster and more frequent flooding.

Adolphus Busch IV is the founder and chairman of Great Rivers Habitat Alliance (GRHA). Great Rivers Habitat Alliance (GRHA) promotes legislation that preserves flood plains. One such piece of legislation is SB225  - The Hunting Heritage Act. This recent passage of this legislation restricts the use of Tax Increment Financing in agricultural lands.

Great Rivers Habitat Alliance and the City of St. Peters are awaiting a ruling from he Western District Courts as to whether municipalities should be allowed to declare agricultural land as “blighted” in their efforts to provide Tax Increment Financing and other incentive to developers.  The Western District Court may deliver a ruling -which would most likely be appealed by the defeated party at the Supreme Court level - or pass the dispute to the Supreme Court for a decision themselves.

“Great Rivers Habitat Alliance has a message of common sense,” states Adolphus Busch IV. “We speak for all the individuals and families whose heritage rests in these flood plains. We accept the risks of living in this area and we will continue to invest in our future as is seen by this solar energy installation.”