As our neighbors in Boonville, Ind., begin dealing with the massive problems caused by mining subsidence (see the May 5 edition of the Indiana Economic Digest), it’s worth a review of the areas locally which are prone to this problem, what landowners can do and how we can eliminate this problem in the future.
It’s pretty plainly stated on the website for the Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance fund (imsif.com), “Most experts agree that room and pillar mines will eventually experience some degree of collapse, but currently there is no way to know when or exactly where mine subsidence will occur.”
This is why the Insurance Fund was created. You see, by the time the land has subsided the coal companies like Sunrise Coal are long gone and the mess will be left with the landowners and farm interests that lay over the mined area. Since the creation of the IMSIF thousands of homes and other structures have been damaged by subsidence.
IMSIF notes; “ On average, over the past 32 years there has been one mine subsidence claim paid every week. In total, those policyholders have received payments in excess of $141 million from their primary insurance companies for damages to their property, all of which were reinsured by the Fund.”
A question then: How can Sunrise Coal guarantee that the Homer room and pillar mine will not cause subsidence? Fact of the matter is, it can’t. As much as its website trumpets modern mining technology, history speaks for itself.
A quick look at the Illinois State Geologic Survey website shows many areas already in Vermillion County with “Indefinite Boundary Underground Mines.” This basically means the coal company and the landowners know exactly where the mines underlie their property ... sort of. Any impacted landowners should consult the IMSIF via their website and work to be compensated for damages due to underground mining.
Simply put, we can eliminate the certainty of future subsidence, loss to cropland and damage to structures by Standing Up To Coal in the Illinois basin. You can educate yourself by going to this website http://standuptocoal.org.
Scott Dossett resides in Urbana.