A power company wants to wall off Illinois’ only national scenic river with rocks instead of removing toxic waste seeping into the water.
The Chicago Tribune reports that State regulators and industry engineers are worried that the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is eroding its banks so quickly it could unleash a surge of coal ash and water. The river runs through Kickapoo State Park.
The Middle Fork is home to three pits of toxic coal ash from the shuttered Vermilion Power Station. The Tribune reports that 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 more than six football fields long.
Vistra’s proposal would require President Donald Trump and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administrations to exempt the company from several environmental regulations. Environmental groups said the company’s proposal is extreme and are urging a federal court to order Vistra to remove the waste from the Middle Fork. State officials said it could take at least another year to review the company’s proposal. The coal-fired power plant next to the river was shuttered in 2011 by Dynegy. Vistra completed a $1.7 billion takeover of Dynegy in April.