October 23, 2012
Prairie Rivers Network and partners call on the Pollution Control Board to keep mercury out of the Illinois River.
On October 18th, Prairie Rivers Network joined with the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to appeal the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (IEPA) decision to allow Dynegy’s Havana Generating Station to add concentrated mercury pollution to existing coal ash ponds that discharge into the Illinois River. (Read our complaint).
Last year, dozens of local residents turned out in opposition to this decision citing public health and safety concerns. Mercury levels for certain fish in the Illinois River are already so high that vulnerable populations are advised to limit the number of fish they eat from the river.
In spite of residents’ concerns, the IEPA allowed Dynegy to add mercury captured by air pollution controls to existing coal ash ponds. Coal ash sludge is already full of heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, selenium, chromium and cadmium, and adding concentrated mercury to the toxic soup in the ponds threatens to send even more mercury pollution into the Illinois River. Removing mercury from power plant emissions is good news for people and fish, but only if power plants dispose of it responsibly to ensure it stays out of our rivers.
Illinois already leads the nation with more documented cases of coal ash damage than any other state. Without strong nationwide safeguards on coal ash disposal, coal fired power plants will be able to continue irresponsible coal ash disposal practices – like dumping mercury laden waste in a coal ash pond that discharges to a river used for both commercial and recreational fishing, as is the case in Havana.
Please take action today! Tell the Illinois Pollution Control Board to require Dynegy to dispose of its mercury responsibly!