Prairie Rivers Network to file suit against Dynegy

Tracy Crane
via The News-Gazette

Prairie Rivers Network plans to file a federal lawsuit against Dynegy over coal ash stockpiled at the energy company’s former Vermilion Power Plant along the Middle Fork River.

Joined by officials with Earthjustice, a national nonprofit environmental law organization, Prairie Rivers officials announced Wednesday morning during a news conference at Kickapoo State Park that the local conservation group has filed a 60-day notice of its intent to sue Dynegy, which closed the power plant in 2011. But three pits filled with ash that contain various contaminants is still on site next to the river, leftover from decades of burning coal.

Making their announcement at Kickapoo Landing near the Middle Fork River, Prairie Rivers officials said the coal ash site is leaking pollution into Illinois’ only National Scenic River, a popular site for kayaking, canoeing and tubing.

About 17 miles of the Middle Fork were designated in 1989 as Illinois’ only scenic river under the federal National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Prairie Rivers officials said tests done by Dynegy and their organization has shown that seepage from the ash pits into the river contains toxic heavy metals.

“This toxic waste needs to be cleaned up,” said Andrew Rehn, water resources engineer with Prairie Rivers Network. “We want to make sure that Dynegy can’t just walk away from its responsibility. We all have a right to a clean Vermilion River.”

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