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

Middle Fork Vermillion River, Illinois | Photo: Prairie Rivers Network

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.



State of Illinois