Letter to the Editor | Protecting coal ash, not children

Governor Rauner’s Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is failing to protect us. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) weakened federal health and water protections for communities near toxic coal ash waste dumps.

If you live in the Peoria area, that means us. The E.D. Edwards coal-fired power plant sits near city limits along the Illinois River. Coal ash is the toxic waste left over by coal-burning power plants. Chemicals from coal ash leak into waterways like the Illinois River and affect local wells. Some of the deadliest known toxic chemicals including heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and chromium are in coal ash. These toxins raise the risk for cancer, heart disease and stroke, and can inflict permanent brain damage on children.

The Trump administration granted coal industry lobbyists’ request to remove coal ash protections putting communities at risk. States have the ability and responsibility to enact proper protections to keep communities clean and safe. Illinois lacks acceptable state-level protections requiring coal companies store and dispose of this toxic waste in a safe way.

We need a governor who will keep communities like Peoria safe from dangerous coal ash toxins by strengthening state-level coal ash protections. I urge readers to contact Governor Rauner and demand proper protections from toxic coal ash. Call Governor Rauner at either his Springfield office 217-782-0244 or his Chicago office 312-814-2121. Visit bit.ly/CoalAshInfo for more information on coal ash.

Ryan Hidden
Sierra Club, Beyond Coal

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