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Illinois Says Ameren Energy Dumped Coal Ash

CHICAGO (CN) - Ameren Energy Resources dumped 180,000 tons of coal ash illegally, the Illinois attorney general says in a complaint filed with the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan claims the ash came from Ameren's power plant in Peoria. She claims Ameren transported the ash-a byproduct of coal burned to generate electricity-to use as fill for a railroad embankment.

Madigan claims Ameren notified state regulators of its plan in 2004, but never got a permit for it.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency discovered 3 acres covered as much as 15 feet deep in coal ash during a 2006 inspection.

The state EPA issued a notice of violation after the inspection showed the ash contained more antimony, boron and silver than allowed by Illinois groundwater standards.

The Illinois EPA rejected an Ameren proposal to resolve the violation, because the ash contained excess pollutants.

Ameren told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week that it disagreed with the attorney general.

"We believe the material was properly used and have submitted additional analytical work, soil borings and modeling data to demonstrate the lack of environmental impact," Ameren said in the statement.

"We are disappointed that rather than seeking additional information from the company, and after more than a year of silence, the Attorney General's Office chose to bring this action."

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