Risks of Leaving Coal Ash on the Banks of the Middle Fork
Monday, June 11, 2018 - 5pm to 8pm
Bremer Auditorium, Danville Area Community College
2000 East Main Street, Danville, IL
This is your opportunity to hear from experts and voice your concerns over Vistra+Dynegy’s
proposal to leave its coal ash In the floodplain of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River
Later this year, the Illinois EPA is likely to decide on a proposal by Vistra+Dynegy that could leave 3.3 million cubic yards of coal ash in unlined, leaking pits on the banks of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion, Illinois’ only National Scenic River. That's enough ash to fill Chicago's Willis (Sears) Tower nearly two times! Toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, barium, boron, chromium, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and sulfate are actively flowing into the river. These contaminants are known to cause birth defects, cancer and neurological damage in humans, and can harm and kill wildlife, especially fish.
But there are no state statutes that require a public information meeting or hearing on this proposal and, to date, the Illinois EPA has declined to hold one. So we will! The agency's decision on a closure plan for Dynegy's three ash pits will either positively - or negatively - affect the health, recreational, scenic, and economic values of this National Scenic River.
Now is the time, while Dynegy finalizes closure plans for its ash pits, to voice concerns backed up with facts by our experts, over the risks of leaving the coal ash forever in the floodplain of the Middle Fork. Join us in asking the Illinois EPA and Governor Rauner to protect the river by ensuring the removal and relocation of Vistra+Dynegy’s coal ash on its property, far from the river.
What to Expect
Experts will address concerns that Dynegy’s preferred cap and leave solution - even with bank stabilization - will not stop groundwater or surface water pollution, nor protect the river, long-term, from a potential breach that could send millions of gallons of coal ash downstream. We are bringing together:
- Experts who will talk about the:
- Importance of the river for recreation, tourism, and the local economy.
- Ecological health and diversity of this National Scenic River.
- Risks of leaving coal ash on the banks of the Middle Fork (pollution, erosion, and stability of impoundments).
- Residents impacted from coal ash spills in North Carolina and Tennessee who will share their experiences.
- The general public who will be invited to submit oral and written comments.
Dynegy and the Illinois EPA have been invited to send a representative to speak. All comments and testimonies will be delivered to Governor Bruce Rauner and Illinois EPA Director Alec Messina so they can be taken into consideration by decision-makers as they review Dynegy's plans for closing its ash pits.
4:00pm Press Conference
5:00pm Opening Remarks
5:30pm Expert Testimony
7:00pm Public Comment
Contact Pam or Lan Richart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.556.3417.
Speakers / Expert Testimony
Overview of the coal ash problem
Pam Richart, Co-Director, Eco-Justice Collaborative
Dynegy's Timeline / IEPA's approval process
Richard J. Cobb, P.G., Deputy Division Manager, Division of Public Water Supplies, IEPA
Ecological health / National Scenic River status
Rob Kanter, Ph.D., School of Earth, Society and Environment, UIUC
Coal ash as a hazardous waste
Abel Russ, Attorney, Environmental Integrity Project
Pollution of groundwater and surface water
Andrew Rehn, Water Resources Engineer, Prairie Rivers Network
Impact of meandering river on bank stabilization
Bruce Rhoads, Ph.D., Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, UIUC
Threat to long-term stability of impoundments
Mike Dudas, P.E., Civil Engineer, Dudas Engineering
Community impacts of 2008 TVA coal ash spill
Sarah McCoin, Harriman, Tennessee
Living with coal ash contamination
Amy Brown, Belmont, North Carolina
Scott Bennett, Illinois State Senator
Mike Marron, Vermilion County Board Chair
Scott Eisenhauer, Mayor of Danville