The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 25, 2013

Coal jobs are dangerous


The Commercial-News

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Coal jobs are dangerous Editor: Browsing the web, I came across an article covering the death of a 28-year-old coal miner that occurred when the roof of a mine caved in and crushed him to death. I was alarmed to see it was the Sunrise Coal Co., but it turned out to be a different "Sunrise Coal" company from the one that wants to come to the Homer area. Still, that was not of much comfort when you consider the following: the accident happened in the same kind of operation that Sunrise wants to start up near Homer: room and pillar extraction. At the time of his death, the 28-year-old was operating the same kind of equipment -- mobile bridge conveyor -- that will be used here, should it come to pass. Furthermore, we know that the limestone substrate above the coal seam in Vermilion County is prone to sagging. This occurs when water seepage causes the limestone to flake and fall from the roof of the mine to the floor, resulting in a weakened roof or possible subsidence on the surface. In addition, coal miners' black lung disease -- caused by inhaling coal dust -- is on the rise. According to a study out of Cook County Hospital in 2010, 86 percent of the miners in the study group had scarring of the lungs known as pneumoconiosis. The jobs that Sunrise wants to bring here are dangerous, dirty jobs. Concerned readers should check out the Stand Up to Coal website, http://www.standuptocoal.org, and sign the petition. Chris Main Champaign