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.