PROTECT ILLINOIS’ ONLY WILD AND SCENIC RIVER FROM TOXIC COAL ASH

The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is Illinois’ only Wild and Scenic River, and one of the most beautiful and biologically-diverse in the Midwest. This special place is home to numerous unique and endangered species. However, it is also impacted by more than three million cubic yards of toxic coal ash.

Dynegy, a power company, owns a decommissioned coal-fired power plant, and its coal ash is stored just feet from the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River. The coal ash sits in three unlined pits that continuously seep toxic contaminants into the river. The banks next to these pits are eroding from the natural force of the meandering river. A breach in one of the walls of the pits could result in a coal ash spill that would have devastating consequences for recreation, riverfront development, and the area’s delicate, biologically-rich ecosystem. Kickapoo State Park is immediately downstream from the coal ash pits, and Danville’s riverfront project is just 12 miles away.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) have been derelict in their duty to protect the pristine beauty that is the Middle Fork of the Vermilion.

Tell Governor Bruce Rauner and the IEPA they must not only prevent Dynegy from polluting this Wild and Scenic River, but also ensure that Dynegy’s coal ash pits do not pose a perpetual threat to the health of the Middle Fork or create a financial burden on taxpayers.


Dear Governor Rauner,

Protect Illinois’ Only Wild and Scenic River from Toxic Coal Ash.

The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is Illinois’ only federally designated Wild and Scenic River. It is vital that we protect it from the toxic coal ash that Dynegy stores just feet from the river, which is seeping into the water. The natural force of the river is eroding the banks next to these pits, and stabilization installed in the 1980s to protect them is in tatters. Putting a band-aid on these pits will not stop them from becoming a financial burden on taxpayers in the future.

 
The Middle Fork of the Vermilion is the centerpiece of a major recreational area in east-central Illinois, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year. A breach in one of the walls of the pits could result in a coal ash spill that would have devastating consequences for recreation and riverfront development. Kickapoo State Park is immediately downstream from the coal ash pits, and Danville’s riverfront project is just 12 miles away. This looming threat has caused American Rivers to include the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2018.
 
The Middle Fork is one of the most beautiful and biologically-diverse in the Midwest. The river is home to the bluebreast darter and the silvery salamander, which are among the 24 state-threatened or endangered species that rely on the ecological health of this river.  
 
You have the authority to require the cleanup of this special place for the health and economic well-being of the community. Please stop Dynegy from polluting the Middle Fork of the Vermilion and make them ensure that their ash pits do not pose a continuing threat to this Wild and Scenic River. A cap is not enough! Do not make the residents of Vermilion County or the taxpayers of Illinois bear the burden for cleaning up Dynegy’s mess.