Rep. Marron introduces resolution to create an Illinois Coal Ash Task Force

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State Representative Mike Marron

Rep. Marron introduces resolution to create an Illinois Coal Ash Task Force

Springfield…. State Representative Mike Marron (R-Fithian) held a press conference at the Illinois State Capitol on Thursday to discuss his bipartisan resolution creating a Coal Ash Task Force.

Representative Marron has filed House Joint Resolution 47 to create the Illinois Coal Ash Task Force. Marron says the task force’s goal will be to bring legislators, coal company representatives, environmental experts, and the public together to study the effects of coal ash on the Vermilion River and the rest of the state.

“In 2011, Dynegy closed the Vermilion Power Station, a former coal-fired power plant, which sits on a bluff above the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River along 17 miles of wild and scenic river,” Rep. Marron said. “There are 3.3 million cubic yards of coal ash produced over the plant’s 55-year operating life currently stored in three coal ash pits on the site, and we must come together in order to move forward in a safe and environmentally appropriate manner.”

The Middle Fork River merges with the Salt Fork River to form the Vermilion River, which flows through Danville, a city of 32,000. Danville is currently redeveloping its riverfront and intends to link this revitalized open space to the city’s adjacent downtown as a way of attracting tourists and boosting their local economy.

Coal ash contaminants can include arsenic, barium, boron, chromium, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and sulfate, which are known to cause birth defects, cancer and neurological damage in humans and can harm and kill wildlife, especially fish.

“Coal plants across the state of Illinois are going to need a set of rules and guidelines to help alleviate environmental damage and encourage safe and responsible storage of the coal ash remnants from plant operations,” Marron said. “An Illinois Coal Ash Task Force should be created to bring legislators, environmental experts, the business community, and the public to the table to discuss this very important issue affecting communities across the state.”

Marron says the membership of the task force would include two Senators and two Representatives selected by the legislative caucus Leaders, an IEPA representative, a representative of the Prairie Research Institute at the U of I, a representative from environmental groups, and a representative from the business community.