Farming and mining ‘progress’
In an advertisement in the Sidell Reporter, Sunrise Coal “salutes the dedication and hard work of the American Farmer,” and is “proud to be part of Vermilion County Progress.”
Farming and coal mining have no “progress” to share. Coal is not a friendly neighbor. Coal is cancer.
Sunrise has no interest in “the farmer,” and its salutation is an endearing overture to an idea, not to the farmers themselves.
Unlike Sunrise Coal, I am part of our community’s progress: I live here, near Homer. I am a part of the community, both as a producer and consumer. I work the land, and, recognizing that the true long-term wealth of the land is in the top one-hundred feet of earth, I will leave it better than when I started.
Sunrise can make no such claims. Sunrise Coal’s engagement with the community will consist only of at most a handfull of laborers; its “produce” likely being sold to China where environmental regulations are more lax on the burning of such sulfurous, “dirty” coal. Sunrise will endeavor to poison our water and air, to mar and toxify our farmland with surface facilities and fragile slurry ponds. And, in the fullness of time, Sunrise will pock-mark our fields with innumerable ponds and wetlands as a result of soil subsidence, leaving our livelihood knee-deep in uncertainty and anger.
What is your idea of progress?