U of I Students Say Protect the Middle Fork

On August 21, 2016, University of Illinois students stopped by Eco-Justice Collaborative’s booth at the University’s annual Quad Day to talk about the campaign to protect the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River from coal ash pollution.

There are three toxic coal ash pits in the floodplain of the state’s only National Scenic River. Two are leaking. The third sits over a mine void, raising questions about its stability. The river banks abutting all three pits are experiencing sever erosion, and watchdogs such as Eco-Justice Collaborative and Prairie Rivers Network are concerned that walls may breach. One of these pits eroded so much in 2015 that Dynegy will be implementing streambank stabilization measures. However, there are no plans for shoring up the banks of the other two pits.

Unless Governor Bruce Rauner and IEPA Director Alec Messina tell Dynegy-Midwest Generation to move its toxic ash from the floodplain of the Middle Fork, Dynegy is likely to obtain approval to cap these pits and leave them in place. This solution leaves the burden of maintenance, repair, and potential clean-up in case of a spill in the hands of the taxpayer. Dynegy’s own reports indicate that the walls of the pits will fail.

For more information, visit http://ecojusticecollaborative.org/dynegys-coal-ash-threat/

Another look at severe erosion of the riverbank abutting the Old East Pond. Photo by Pam Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative. April 2016

Another look at severe erosion of the riverbank abutting the Old East Pond. Photo by Pam Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative. April 2016

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