Group plans to speak out against Vermilion mining

DANVILLE – A group called Stand Up To Coal plans to ask the Vermilion County Board on Tuesday night to halt what it considers "threats from new coal mining to the county's resources," according to a news release from the group.

Charles Goodall, a retired farmer who owns farmland in Vermilion County, helped organize Stand Up To Coal last year after Sunrise Coal LLC, an Indiana company, began seeking mineral leases with property owners in southwestern Vermilion County. The leases have given the company the right to do exploratory work to investigate whether it's feasible to open a new coal mine in the area.

After months of investigation, Suzanne Jaworowski, communications director for Sunrise Coal, said that just this week the company has deemed it a mine-able reserve, but no other details are available yet, including where the surface operation would be located.

The Vermilion County Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Vermilion County Courthouse Annex, 6 N. Vermilion St., Danville, and Stand Up to Coal plans to present concerns during the meeting. Goodall, along with Kevin Block, a farmer and Realtor and member of Stand Up To Coal, and other residents who live near Sidell, Fairmount, Homer and Allerton, will tell the board that they believe new mining could "threaten farmland, the local economy, clean water and the health and quality of life of rural residents," according to the group's news release.

Stand Up to Coal members plan to show how other Illinois communities have experienced damage from coal mining, toxic coal slurry and coal-ash waste disposal, and the group will call on the Vermilion County Board to adopt a resolution opposing coal mining activities.

According to the group, Sunrise Coal LLC has not provided information necessary for landowners to determine what impact leasing their coal reserves to Sunrise would have on their communities.

The mine would be located on some of Illinois' best farmland, according to the group, raising long-term concerns about damage to drainage from subsidence, and the mine would be in close to Sidell, Allerton, Homer and Fairmount, which rely on groundwater for the community water supply as do rural residents in those areas.

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kirk-pabst wrote on March 05, 2011 at 8:03 am

I, too, am a member of Stand Up To Coal. In this time of economic uncertainty, we can ill afford to allow a business to make private transactions with citizens that will bring many high paying jobs and an increase in tax money. Sunrise Coal LLC must be stopped from signing a contract with landowners; the County should step in and tell the private landowners what to do with their land. We all know that coal has destroyed the US over the past two hundred years. Please stymie Sunrise Coal LLC from creating hundreds of private jobs that will help to greatly reduce the unemployment levels.

bluegrass wrote on March 05, 2011 at 8:03 am

kirk-pabst, I couldn't agree more. The last thing Danville needs is yet another company moving into town hiring people and taking them off their unemployment rolls. Thanks for standing up and telling these corporations, No to Jobs in Vermilion County!

RamaSita wrote on March 06, 2011 at 3:03 am

It is highly unlikely that the Vermilion County Board will adopt a resolution opposing coal mining activities in the county. The argument for jobs and tax monies will be highest on the agenda. Goodness knows there aren't hundreds of these coal mining sites that would provide substantial documented evidence of exactly what happens to the environment and communities, including the potential for water and land contamination. The answer lies in expecting your elected officials to do their job. This means that neither a blanket obstruction to the industry, nor a blank check be provided to the companies seeking approval to establish in the county. Good luck with that. If they couldn't and wouldn't research the potential effects and future expenses of wind farms, they aren't about to lift a finger about coal mines.

mkh79 wrote on March 09, 2011 at 1:03 pm

You “Stand Up To Coal” people are incredulous. The ignorance is astounding. First off...transient employees? Not local? How about all of the men that worked at VG & Riola who now travel several hours away for work just to provide for their families? Those families who still live-and spend-in VC, no less. You don't honestly think for one second that they would pass up the opportunity to work back home again, do you? Why don't you go tell the unemployed men of VC, most of which would LOVE to get back to a real job, that you are opposed to good paying employers (with benefits, no less) coming to the area. Secondly, your concern over the style of mining is a pathetic attempt, at best. What's the matter? Are you upset because your land isn't usable? Please. Your protest on this issue is lame. And lastly...the almighty 'adverse effects' argument. That is REALLY getting old, especially those of you using your computers in your warm, well-lit homes to fight the battle. Hypocrites!! Let me just say to that (and frankly, this is all that needs to be said): Your opposition has no merit, because until YOU live your life day in and day out, completely cut from all electricity & solely reliant on an alternate power source, you need to just SIT DOWN and SHUT UP.