CHICAGO (KHQA) — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, against a utility company over "the unlawful disposal of coal ash., according to a news release from the Attorney General's office.
Raoul and Lacy filed the suit against Dynegy Midwest Generation, LLC (Dynegy) "over the unlawful disposal of coal ash at the site of the former Vermilion Power Station, which led to groundwater pollution surrounding the coal power plant," the news release stated.
Raoul and Lacy also filed a motion to enter an agreed interim order that requires Dynegy to create a safety emergency response plan for the site.
Dynegy’s actions created a public health risk by contaminating the area’s groundwater and led to the pollution of Illinois’ only nationally-recognized scenic river and,” Raoul said. “I am pleased to partner with Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy and am committed to holding Dynegy accountable for harming our environment and putting the health of Illinois residents at risk.
Raoul’s lawsuit is based on a referral from the IEPA.
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“The Agreed Interim Order is a vital step in addressing our long-standing concerns with the facility’s coal ash ponds,” IEPA Director John Kim said. “The Order establishes necessary timelines for addressing the impacts on area groundwater and the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, and provides for more meaningful public participation while moving toward the ultimate closure of the facility’s coal ash ponds.”
Dynegy owns the property in Oakwood, Illinois, where the coal-fired Vermilion Power Station operated until November 2011.
Dynegy’s operations involved burning coal to generate electricity .
The process resulted in the generation of coal ash, which Dynegy dumped in man-made ponds at the site, according to the news release.
Coal ash can contain a number of harmful byproducts that may adversely impact groundwater and the nearby Middle Fork of the Vermilion River. The river’s banks continue to steadily erode, and Raoul’s lawsuit alleges the proximity of the coal ash ponds in the flood plain further threatens the river’s well-being, the release stated.