Illinois House Environment & Energy Committee!
After a LONG hearing on Thursday, May 16, the Illinois House Energy & Environment Committee passed SB9, Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act. State Representative Carol Ammons excelled in making clear why we need SB9. Senator Scott Bennett attended to show his support. State Representative Mike Marron, who serves on the Committee, voted yes but also was the first to sign on as cosponsor. Pam Richart, Co-Director, Eco-Justice Collaborative was among those who testified in support of the bill.
Thanks to all who took the time to submit a witness slip in favor of this bill. And a special thank you to those from the Protect the Middle Fork Citizens Advocacy Group, Citizens for a Greener Illinois, and Heart of Illinois Sierra Club. They traveled to Springfield to attend the hearing, showing Committee members there is strong, on the ground support and need for SB9!
And now – on to the floor of the House! Please call your representative and ask him or her to support this bill. Not sure who your state rep is? Find out here: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
Cap and Run:Toxic Coal Ash Left Behind by Big Polluters Threatens IllinoisWater, was released in November 2018. This report revealed unsafe concentrations of dangerous coal ash pollutants in groundwater at 22 of 24 reporting coal ash dumpsites in Illinois. Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal, contains a toxic brew of metals, including arsenic, mercury, lead, and chromium. These leaking coal ash impoundments are a threat to our communities health and our water.
The good news is that Illinois legislators are actively doing something about it.
With the leadership of Senator Scott Bennett, the Illinois Senate approved groundbreaking coal ash legislation on May 9. SB9, The Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act, gives the Illinois EPA the tools it needs to create a state-administered coal ash program, and the resources required to review and permit the numerous coal ash closure plans mandated by the US EPA. SB9 will provide protection for Illinois communities and ensure taxpayers aren’t left on the hook for cleanup. Representative Carol Ammons has taken up the bill as chief sponsor.
The 2015 federal rule requires unlined, leaking coal ash impoundments to be closed by October 31, 2020. Companies like Vistra and NRG, owners and operators of most of the coal plants in Illinois, have known for some time they would need to close their leaking impoundments.