June 5 Town Hall with Vermilion County Elected Officials
Working Together to Protect the Middle Fork from Toxic Coal Ash
June 5, 2017, 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Danville Area Community College
Bremer Conference Center, Room 109-110
2000 E Main St, Danville, IL
State Senator Scott Bennett
State Representative Chad Hays
County Board Chair Mike Marron
Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer
Welcome, Introductions and Context
Screening of the 8-Minute Documentary Waiting for Disaster: Coal Ash on the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River
Remarks by Elected Officials
Public Q & A
The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is Illinois’ only National Scenic River. Yet, 3.3 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash was deposited in three pits within the floodplain of the river over a 55-year period. That’s enough to cover 1,547 NFL football fields with ash, one foot deep.
Two of the three pits are not lined, and the ash is leaking into the river and groundwater. The third has only a simple clay liner and sits over mine voids, raising concerns over stabilization. The erosion control measures installed in the 1980’s along the two older pits have disintegrated, and the river is moving closer to the pits, threatening a breach. Emergency riverbank stabilization had to be installed along the newest ash pit last fall, because the river eroded 20 feet of protection in just six years.
Dynegy was issued a groundwater notice of violation in July of 2012 that is still unresolved. Dynegy’s proposed closure plan is to cap the pits and leave the ash in the floodplain. While the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has asked for more information, including cost of ash relocation, the review process drags on, and the coal ash chemicals continue to leak from the pits and the river continues to erode the abutting banks that protects them from a catastrophic spill.
Why this Town Hall is Important
Other than responding to groundwater violations, there is no legislation or rules that require Dynegy to clean up its ash. Therefore, there is no public participation process; no alternatives analysis, other than that which is requested by the IEPA; and no financial guarantees, should the pits fail.
We need to speak out if we want the coal ash to be moved, and ask our elected officials to speak with the IEPA and Governor Rauner. The only solution that makes sense long term is to require Dynegy to move its ash out of the floodplain so that taxpayers are not responsible for maintaining the pits or cleaning up the river in the event of a spill. Now is the time for the public to influence Dynegy’s closure plan. Once Dynegy caps the pits (or otherwise modifies them) and corrects their groundwater violations, they no longer will have responsibility for maintenance, repair, or potential clean up.
State Senator Scott Bennett, State Representative Chad Hays, Vermilion County Board Chair Mike Marron, and Danville’s Mayor Scott Eisenhauer all have agreed to hear your concerns and share what they are doing on June 5. This is the time to make your voice heard!