What did we do? We “#KickedCoalAsh” yesterday! Thanks to YOUR help, and the leadership of Senator Scott Bennett, State Representative Carol Ammons, and State Representative Mike Marron, the Illinois House passed Senate Bill 9, The Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act, late yesterday afternoon (Memorial Day). This bipartisan bill is now on its way to Governor Pritzker’s desk for signing.
Passing SB9 makes Illinois the 3rd state in the country to take legislative action on coal ash. Filling out witness slips, making calls, and sending emails to state senators and representatives these past few weeks brought the bill over the finish line. Today, Illinois communities affected by coal ash pollution across the state are shouting THANK YOU!
The next step is to make sure the rules adopted by the Illinois Pollution Control Board reflect the intent of the legislation. There will be an opportunity for you to become involved during this process, so please stay tuned.
For more on what SB9, The Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act, will do to protect communities from coal ash pollution, click here. You can also download a copy of the bill’s factsheet here.
Does this Bill Apply to the Middle Fork?
It’s hard to say how SB9 will apply to Dynegy’s closure plan. That’s because Dynegy’s plan has been in process for so long (seven years!!); permits are still being sought for riverbank stabilization; there are two Notices of Violation to Dynegy from the Illinois EPA; and Dynegy’s closure plan has now been referred to the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement. Also, Earthjustice and Prairie Rivers Network have filed suit.
What we CAN say, is that the impacts from the unlined, leaking coal ash pits along the state’s only National Scenic River were constantly highlighted during the campaign for SB9, drawing even more attention to the urgent need to remove Dynegy’s toxic waste. Having rules in place that require removal to be considered as an alternative; call for meaningful public involvement; and mandate strong financial guarantees only help us as we forge ahead with the Protect the Middle Fork campaign. We are evaluating how best to leverage this legislative win, and will let you know soon what we plan to do next – and how you can stay involved.
For more on the status of the riverbank project, and how your participation helped hold the National Park Service accountable, click here.