Dynegy, Move Your Ash!
In 2011, Dynegy Midwest Generation closed its power plant on the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, in east-central Illinois. Dynegy plans to close its three pits built in the floodplain of the Middle Fork, which contain 3.3 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash. The Middle Fork is Illinois' only National Scenic River.
Coal ash, the waste left over after coal is burned, contains some of the world’s deadliest toxic metals, such as arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and selenium. These can cause birth defects, cancer, and brain damage in humans and can kill wildlife.
Two of the ash pits are leaking, polluting surface and groundwater with this deadly waste. The third sits over a mine void, raising concerns over long-term stability. The Middle Fork is severely eroding banks next to these ash pits, and erosion is occurring at a rate 2.5 to 9 times faster than predicted. If these impoundments are breached, millions of gallons of toxic coal ash will flow into the river. Instead of moving its waste, Dynegy wants to cover the ash pits, armor riverbanks with rock, and permanently leave them in place.
It's Happened Before ...
In 2008 a massive coal ash spill in Kingston, TN sent 5.5 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash into the Clinch and Emory Rivers. Over $1.2 billion dollars has been spent cleaning up the waste. Then, in 2014, a Duke Energy plant in NC sent 46,000 cubic yards of toxic coal ash into the Dan River, extending 70 miles downstream. The bill for cleanup is now over $50 million, but total damage is estimated to be over $300 million. The amount of coal ash from Duke Energy’s spill is comparable to 1% of the volume of coal ash stored on Dynegy's site.
What Can You Do?
Use the form below to write Governor Pritzker and IEPA Director Kim today. Urge them to require Dynegy to move its toxic waste away from the Middle Fork. That’s the only solution that will, in perpetuity, protect the river from ongoing pollution and communities from a catastrophic coal ash spill.