Letter to the Editor | Protect river from toxic coal ash

Letter to the Editor | Protect river from toxic coal ash

If you like to kayak, canoe, fish, hunt, hike or if you just love nature, please take note. The beautiful Middle Fork River next door to us in Vermilion County is in jeopardy.

Toxic coal ash stored in deep ponds sits right next to the river that supports all the activities above.

This coal ash, left over from when Illinois Power operated a coal-burning plant at that site, is a toxic soup of terrible ingredients: arsenic, barium, boron, chromium lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and sulfate. These contaminates are linked to various cancers, birth defects, reproductive defects and more.

To explain, over the years, these contaminants made their way into the groundwater beneath the pits; slowly the groundwater migrated toward the stream, and this will continue unless the current owners (Dynegy/Vistra Corp) remove the coal ash and relocate it properly.

Instead, the company is proposing inexpensive half-measures that include shoring up the river bank with rocks. I don't think there are enough rocks in Illinois to stop a free-flowing river from carving out the channel it wants to carve.

Thus, in time, when the meandering river meets up with the pit, we will be at risk of a major breach, releasing hundreds of millions of gallons of coal ash into the river.

Write Gov. Pritzker and ask him to make Dynegy move the ash to a safe place.