Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to Hold a Public Hearing on Vistra's Massive Riverbank Stabilization Project!
The now-closed Vermilion Power Station in east-central Illinois is owned by Vistra Energy. The plant sits on the west bank of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion, Illinois’ only National Scenic River and one of the most biologically diverse in the state. For over 55 years, 3.3 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash were dumped by coal plant operators into unlined pits built in the river’s floodplain. That volume of waste would fill Chicago’s Willis Tower nearly two times!
Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal, causes birth defects, cancer, and neurological damage in humans, and can harm and kill wildlife. Coal ash chemicals, such as arsenic, boron, and lead are leaking into the groundwater and river, but Vistra wants to cap its waste and permanently leave it in the floodplain.
Vistra has submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for armoring over 1/3 mile of eroding banks next to its ash pits with 22,370 cubic yards of rock. It also is step #1 in Vistra’s plan to cap and leave the ash in place. This aggressive plan is an assault on this National Scenic River, and will significantly impact water quality, aquatic life, recreation, and the esthetic values of this National Scenic River. Leaving the ash in place also would create a legacy of toxic waste for future generations that could include:
- Ongoing pollution.
- The threat of a coal ash spill that would have severe consequences for the river and the regional recreational economy.
- Perpetual costs and responsibilities associated with monitoring and maintaining riverbank armoring and coal ash impoundments.
What We Need from You
Will you send a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking them to hold a public hearing on the riverbank armoring project proposed by Vistra? A hearing will allow both the public and experts to testify on the impacts of the proposal.