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Help Ensure Toxic Coal Ash is Moved Away from
Illinois' Only National Scenic River!

Later this year, the Illinois EPA could approve a plan that could leave 3.3 million cubic yards of coal ash in the floodplain of Illinois' only National Scenic River without a public hearing. That's enough ash to cover one NFL football field with a pile of toxic ash that is 1,547 feet high!  And coal ash can contain heavy metals, such as arsenic; mercury; cadmium; chromium; selenium; aluminum; antimony; barium; beryllium; boron; copper; lead; manganese; molybdenum; nickel; vanadium; and zinc. These have been shown to cause birth defects, cancer, and neurological damage in humans - and can harm and kill wildlife, especially fish.

A public hearing is not required by state statutes, and the Rauner Administration declined to hold one. That's why Eco-Justice Collaborative decided to hold our own.  With the assistance of local residents and support from elected representatives, EJC convened a “People’s Hearing”  on Monday, June 11,  at Bremer Conference Center, Danville Area Community College.  

We are hoping the Pritzker Administration will agree that Dynegy's plan to cap its waste, armor eroding riverbanks next to its ash pits, and leave the ash forever in place is one that should have public input. You can help make the case for a hearing by writing a letter to newly appointed EPA Director John Kim.

Feel free to draw upon the talking points posted in the right column, and click here to access our most recent concerns regarding the impacts of Dynegy's planned riverbank armoring project and request for a Section 404 permit.

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Sample Talking Points
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Click here for analysis of Dynegy's riverbank stabilization project

  • The river is one of the most vibrant and ecologically-diverse in the Midwest, and has a regional recreational draw that boosts local economies. Last April, the national river conservation group American Rivers listed the Middle Fork as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2018©, because of the coal ash threat.  Governor Rauner, why aren't you protecting this state and national treasure?
  • Coal ash is threatening the Middle Fork of the Vermilion, Illinois’ only National Scenic River. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is the agency responsible for ensuring its protection.  But the river will be threatened as long as the coal ash remains in the floodplain.  IDNR, do your job, and make sure Dynegy removes its toxic waste!

Gabions installed to protect riverbanks next to thel ash pits have bee ripped away by the force of the river, exposing views of coal ash contaminants seeping into the river. Photo by Pam Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative.

  • How does Vermilion County or Danville benefit if Dynegy+Vistra is allowed to leave 3.3 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash in the floodplain of Illinois' only National Scenic River?  Governor Rauner, tell Dynegy to move its ash!
  • The recent merger of Dynegy and Vistra, two Texas-based power producers, has created a company that now is worth more than $20 billion. Shouldn’t Dynegy be responsible for cleaning up its mess? Why should Vermilion County residents be left with a legacy of toxic coal ash, if a “cap and leave” solution is approved?
  • Coal ash contaminants are leaking into the groundwater and river.  Capping the coal ash pits won't stop this pollution, since coal ash pits are unlined. I expect the IEPA to protect this National Scenic River from ongoing coal ash pollution, and the only way to do that is to tell Dynegy to move its toxic waste.
  • The Middle Fork is a meandering river that is moving west toward the coal ash pits. Eventually the river will reclaim its floodplain, even with riverbank stabilization.  The only way to protect the river from a potential coal ash spill is to move the ash far from the river.
  • Installing lengthy sections of stone along Dynegy’s coal ash pits for nearly 1/2 mile is not compatible with the scenic character of the river. The only way to protect both the ecological health and scenic value of the river is to move the coal ash.
  • If the IEPA approves a plan that leaves the ash in place, who will pay for monitoring, maintenance, and repair of the pits after Dynegy leaves or potentially goes bankrupt?And who will pay for cleanup, in the event of a catastrophic spill?


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