The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided that additional review will be necessary before Vistra will be allowed to proceed with a bank stabilization project along the National Scenic Middle Fork River in Vermilion County.
The Corps had originally indicated that it thought the energy giant’s request qualified for a national permit covering bank stabilization projects of minimal scale and limited potential environmental impact.
Advocates for protecting the Middle Fork – including Eco Justice Collaborative and Prairie Rivers Network – had raised alarms about the bank stabilization plans. In June of 2012, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a Notice of Violation to then owner Dynegy Midwest Generation alleging that their coal ash disposal areas were leaking into groundwater in the area near their abandoned power plant north of Kickapoo State Park. In June of this year, Vistra, the new owner of the site was issued a second Notice of Violation for alleged pollution of the river.
Eco-Justice Collaborative says it will be providing updates on the coal ash issue at two public information meetings. They will be held on October 1st at 6:30 p.m. at the Champaign Public Library and on October 11th at 6:30 p.m. at the Danville Public Library.
Eco-Justice System is continuing to call on state and federal agencies to provide interim protection to the river banks and require Vistra to remove the coal ash from the floodplain of Illinois’ only National Scenic River.