“For a half century, utility companies have been dumping coal ash in the flood plain of the Vermilion River.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – The potential danger of coal ash polluting the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River was raised in a key Senate budget committee today. State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) asked acting Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Alec Messina what the agency is doing to prevent coal ash from polluting the river.

“For a half century, utility companies have been dumping coal ash in the flood plain of the Vermilion River,” Bennett said. “What is the IEPA doing to hold Dynegy accountable and make sure the river remains safe from these coal ash sites?”

Messina responded that it would be a long-term program.

“Today we are waiting for a response from Dynegy asking them to put forward a plan for characterizing the site,” Messina said. “Frankly, none of the options are perfect options.”

Messina said the IEPA expects an answer from Dynegy in the coming weeks.

This comes after the Trump administration announced that the federal budget would have a 30 percent cut in funding to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a cut that would be catastrophic to efforts protecting the environment in Illinois.

Senator Bennett expressed concern that the IEPA’s budget proposed does not have the necessary resources for a long term cleanup of the river.

The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is Illinois’ only National Wild and Scenic River, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507