Protect the Illinois’ Only Scenic River from Coal Ash Pollution
Guests: Lan & Pam Richart, Co-Founders
October 20, 2016
12pm to 1pm
Sponsored by the Champaign County Sustainability Network
Champaign Economic Development Corporation
1817 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL
Fossil fuels brought about an industrial revolution with many benefits for humankind, but not without significant social, economic and environmental costs. Today, requiring the power industry to internalize its costs is an important step in creating a level playing field for the adoption of cleaner, and safer energy alternatives.
Between 1955 and 2011 the Vermilion Power station deposited millions of cubic yards of toxic coal ash in unlined, leaking coal ash pits immediately adjacent to the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, Illinois’ only National Scenic River. With coal ash pollutants leaking into the groundwater and the river eroding its banks ever closer to the coal ash impoundments, the current owner is making plans to cover these pits and leave them permanently in place. But who will ultimately bear the cost of keeping the river at bay, or pay the price for recovering from a major coal ash spill? Local advocates such as Eco-Justice Collaborative are leading a grassroots campaign calling for the removal of the ash to a safe, properly designed facility away from the river. Join us as we hear more details about the threat to the Middle Fork and how Illinois residents are making their voices heard.