By Associated Press - Friday, October 26, 2018

OAKWOOD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois residents are pushing for a public hearing where they can voice concerns about an energy company’s plan to build a wall to stabilize part of the Vermillion River near coal ash pits.

Vermilion County Board member Kevin Green is leading the effort to get local governments and other groups in the county to pass resolutions urging the Army Corps of Engineers to hold a public hearing on Vistra Energy’s plan, The News-Gazette reported .

The Middle Fork of the Vermillion River has three pits of toxic coal ash from the shuttered Vermilion Power Station. Instead of digging out the toxic muck, Vistra Energy, the ash pits’ owner, has proposed building a wall of rocks to armor a riverbank section.

The Army Corps is in the process of gathering information about the plan as it reviews the energy company’s permit application.

River advocates fear the project could disrupt recreational activities along the river for up to a year and ruin the river’s aesthetic and scenic value.

“So, the idea is to get the Army Corps of Engineers over here to hear local people,” Green said.

More than 20 governments and groups in Vermilion and Champaign counties have either approved or are considering the resolution, according to Pam Richart, co-founder and co-director of the Champaign-based Eco-Justice Collaborative.

Vermilion Advantage is a membership organization of major employers and businesses in Vermilion County. The organization’s board has written a letter supporting the push for a public hearing.

“We feel strongly that these discussions should be public since the outcomes will have an impact on our entire region for generations to come,” the letter said.


Information from: The News-Gazette,

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