ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – In response to concerns of potential water contamination from coal ash ponds from a local power generating facility, state Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, is engaging the facility’s owners, local leaders and state agencies to ensure that local drinking water is safe.
“I originally learned about the potential dangers of the coal ash ponds present in my district after meeting with Prairie Rivers Network advocacy group last year,” Connor said. “I appreciated the meeting because they informed me of the issues of coal ash disposal in the power generating industry, and how renewable energy could help address them.”
According to reports put together by the Environmental Integrity Project, ponds located at the NRG facility in Romeoville are no longer sufficiently lined to store coal ash and may be a source of contamination. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, through the office of the governor, is responsible for creating the guidelines for coal ash storage and disposal. In August, a federal appeals court ruled that the current guidelines were not adequate to protect watersheds and that energy companies needed to upgrade to more environmentally friendly storage and disposal practices. As a result, Connor is advocating for investments in renewable energy and improved environmental guidelines under the incoming Pritzker administration.
“After recently meeting with NRG, who have been proactive on this topic, and the village of Romeoville to discuss the coal ash ponds and water contamination, it is clear that significant change in the handling of coal ash is coming,” Connor said. “I’m hopeful that the new administration will implement policies to protect our environment, while looking long term by choosing to invest in renewable energy sources. Coal has been an important part of our local energy infrastructure, but we need to make sure that we are vigilant on its environmental impact.”