Local citizens rally together for cleaner air

By Celsy Martindale

July 11, 2013 Updated Jul 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM CDT

BARTONVILLE, Ill. -- A group of local citizens rallied on Thursday for cleaner air in Peoria and Tazewell County.

One of those citizens believes the air quality is negatively effecting her daughter's health.

Being outside is great for most teens, but for 15-year-old LeAnna Garlish, who has Asthma, being outside can sometimes be a struggle.

"It's been heart wrenching at times and tiring to be up for days at a time and watch your child go through breathing treatments and they tell you how tight their chest is," said LeAnna's mom and Pekin resident, Robin Garlish.

Although the exact cause of LeAnna's Asthma hasn't been determined by doctors, LeAnna's mom believes emissions from nearby power plants could be part of the cause.

Thursday morning Garlish and members of the Sierra club asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action against the E. D. Edwards coal-fired power plant.

Residents are worried about the emission of sulfur dioxide from the plant and hope their neighbors will take notice.

In February, the EPA recommended parts of Peoria and Tazewell Counties be considered non-attainment areas because of poor air quality.

The official designation of non-attainment was set for June, but the EPA has not yet acted.

"We want U.S. EPA to make the final designation as soon as possible so that the folks that are here in the Peoria and Tazewell Counties that are suffering because of this air pollution can get some relief," said Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign Organizer Kady McFadden.

"The plant is polluting right there, right in front of us and everyone's coming in close contact with it. We've got to do something about this,' said Garlish.

The plant is operated by Ameren, but is being taken over by Dynegy.

Ameren and Dynegy have both released separate statements, saying the plant operates within EPA standards and will continue to find ways to reduce emissions.

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