Mine opponents schedule meeting in Georgetown

Mine opponents schedule meeting in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN — Two groups that oppose the proposed Bulldog coal mine in western Vermilion County are hosting a meeting Wednesday in Georgetown.

According to a news release, representatives of Prairie Rivers Network and members with Stand Up to Coal will give an overview of the proposed coal mine's impacts on farmland, water and communities. And residents in the area of the proposed mine will provide personal accounts of how they could be affected by the mine, according to the news release.

The meeting is open to the public and will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Maple Grove Lodge at Forest Glen Preserve, 20301 E 900 North Road, Westville.

On June 17, the Georgetown City Council unanimously approved selling up to 500,000 gallons of untreated water per day for 30 years to the Bulldog mine that's being planned by Sunrise Coal, based in Terre Haute, Ind.

Sunrise has lease agreements for mineral rights with landowners in western Vermilion County and has applied to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for a mining permit, which is still under review within the department as Sunrise continues its planning, including establishing a water supply to the operation.

Earlier this year, Prairie Rivers and Stand Up to Coal opposed Sunrise's request that Homer sell untreated water from its wells to the coal mine, which would have its surface operation about 5 miles southeast of Homer. The board ultimately agreed to sell the mine treated water, but not untreated water. Sunrise went in search of another way to supply the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water it would need daily to wash the coal and meet other functions in the coal mining process and came to an agreement with Georgetown.

The Prairie Rivers Network is a nonprofit organization in Champaign that advocates for clean water and healthy rivers throughout Illinois, and Stand Up to Coal is a grassroots association of farmers, landowners and other residents in East Central Illinois who want to protect drinking water, farmland, healthy communities and the environment and stop the proposed Bulldog coal mine, according to its website.

Sunrise Coal is a subsidiary of Hallador Energy Co. and operates the Carlisle mine in Sullivan County, Ind., where it produces more than 3 million tons of coal annually and employs more than 300 people. According to mine officials, the Bulldog mine will create 300 long-term jobs that pay $18 to $24 per hour with benefits in addition to jobs in supporting industries and would generate $10.9 million annually in state and local tax revenue.