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Middle Fork Public Hearing March 2019

We’ve Got a Hearing. And We Need You to Attend!
Flyer March 26 Hearing

Dynegy Midwest Generation has applied to the Illinois EPA for Section 401 Water Quality Certification related to impacts associated with its massive riverbank stabilization project. The need for this project is to protect two, unlined, leaking coal ash pits from the natural forces of the river.  Building this massive wall of rocks would harm the river, but is step #1 in Dynegy’s plan to cap and leave their toxic waste permanently in place. If this project is approved:

  • Over 22,000 cubic yards of rip-rap and other fill would be placed along a 1/3-mile section that would extend 30 or more feet into the river channel.
  • Construction would require digging up to 8 feet into the riverbed.  Soils contaminated with coal ash chemicals would be excavated, potentially sending pollutants downstream.
  • The river would either be closed to paddlers during construction or paddlers would be required to portage over 1/3 mile around the construction site.
  • This project will create a permanent visual scar that will detract from the river’s free-flowing character and natural beauty. These values were recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as fundamental to the designation of the Middle Fork as a National Scenic River.
  • The project could be built BEFORE the Illinois EPA decides whether Dynegy can cap its unlined, leaking coal ash pits, and leave them permanently in the floodplain of the state’s only National Scenic River.

No one disputes the fact that riverbanks need to be protected while agencies move through their review and approval process.  At the People’s Hearing held in Danville on June 11, 2018, Rick Cobb of the Illinois EPA said it was likely that INTERIM stabilization would be required for that reason.

No matter what is done in the long-term, we’re going to probably need some interim work, potentially, because of some of these storms and things we”ve had.  – Rick Cobb, Illinois EPA


What If This Is the ONLY Hearing We’ll Have? 
Approval of Dynegy’s closure plan involves many agencies. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently shared they are not likely to hold a hearing, despite all the requests made. And,the Illinois EPA, Division of Public Water Supplies has, to date, declined to hold a hearing. That is what led to EJC’s decision to host a People’s Hearing this past June.

This 401 Water Quality Certification hearing hosted by the Illinois EPA could be the ONLY agency-sanctioned opportunity we have to comment on Dynegy’s plan to cap, armor riverbanks next to the ash pits, and leave the toxic waste in place.  While the focus of this hearing is on water quality and use of the river, we think this is an opportunity to share other concerns associated with Dynegy’s planned cap and leave project.

Need a Ride to the Hearing?
Don’t let lack of transportation keep you home! Contact EJC if you need a ride. We’re helping with ride sharing and, depending on demand, will work with others to rent a van or bus
This is OUR River.  Protect the Middle ForkBuild a 1/3-mile Long Wall to Protect Coal Ash?
We Say No! Dynegy … Move Your Ash!!

Eco-Justice Collaborative and our friends at Prairie Rivers Network have scheduled three opportunities to help you prepare oral and written comments. We’ll discuss the narrow focus of the hearing, and how to maximize impact of oral testimony or written comments. Plan to attend one of these briefings, and bring along a friend or two.

Attend a Briefing
Thursday, March 14, 2019
6:30pm to 7:30pm
Danville Public Library
319 N Vermilion St, Danville

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
6:30pm to 7:30pm
See: prairierivers.org/hearing

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
6:30pm to 7:30pm
Urbana Free Library
210 W Green St, Urbana

Download talking points to help prepare for these briefings.

What Else Can You Do?
Here are some suggestions for actions you can take to help spread the word and comment on the project.  All are easy, but important.

Share our facebook event to maximize attendance at the hearing. We have 800 seats to fill.

Share our hearing flyer via email and facebook.

Send a letter to the National Park Service. Dynegy’s riverbank project does not comply with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.  The National Park Service can withhold their approval.

Send a letter to Governor Pritzker and Illinois EPA Acting Director John Kim. Let them know the only way to protect the river and Vermilion County is to require Dynegy to move its ash out of the floodplain, and place it in a properly-constructed, lined, and monitored landfill away from the river.

Install a yard sign. This is a great way to show support for moving Dynegy’s coal ash, and solicit interest in the campaign. If you can pick it up from our Champaign office – or if we can drive it to you, it’s yours. We’ll also bring some signs to each briefing.

Protect the Middle Fork Yard Sign

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