The Middle Fork River running next to the coal ash ponds at the Vermilion Power Station

Darrell Hoemann/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

September 07, 2018

Loose Regulations Allow Coal Ash To Threaten River

Each year thousands of families boat down the Middle Fork branch of the Illinois Vermilion River below an embankment that holds back 3.3 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash sludge stored in three large ponds. Coal ash pollution is leaching into the river, and the riverbank is eroding under the ponds. We examine what's a stake in this investigative report.


View of the Dakota Access Pipeline being installed near New Salem, North Dakota.

Tony Webster / Flickr

September 02, 2018

Corps: No New Impacts Found In Dakota Access Pipeline Review

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday completed more than a year of additional study of the North Dakota-to-Illinois Dakota Access oil pipeline, saying the work substantiated its earlier determination that the pipeline poses no significant environmental threats.


Nam Y. Huh/AP

August 01, 2018

Foreclosure Numbers; AI In Hiring; Asian Carp Pet Food; Summer Blood Donations

On the 21st: We talked about Illinois foreclosure rate and why it's well above the national average, especially in Peoria and Rockford. Plus, how companies are using artificial intelligence to filter out resumes, answer applicant questions and ultimately determine who gets an interview. And, we talked with the people who are turning an invasive species of fish into an all-natural pet food. Then, why you might want to consider donating blood in the summer months.


The University of Illinois Energy Farm, just south of Urbana.

Madelyn Beck/Harvest Public Media

July 20, 2018

Help Or Hinder? Federal Agencies At Odds Over Biofuels

Scott Pruitt’s resignation from the Environmental Protection Agency this month has many in the renewable fuel industry hoping that federal agencies will get on the same page.


Discolored groundwater leaching into a river

photo courtesy of Eco-Justice Collaborative

July 19, 2018

Violation Notice Issued For Alleged Contamination At Vermilion Power Station

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has issued a violation notice to Vistra Energy Corporation for alleged violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act at the Vermilion Power Station near Oakwood, Illinois. In May the Illinois EPA conducted a stream survey of the Middle Fork Vermilion River near three coal ash ponds owned by Vistra, and found water with “heavily stained reddish-brown discoloration” seeping from the riverbank. The violation notice says the seeps were discharging into the river, staining sediment and rocks, and creating “offensive conditions in the Middle Fork.”


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