Sunrise Coal is one step closer to building the Bulldog Mine in Vermilion and Champaign counties. An agreement made with Georgetown will allow the village to sell untreated water to operate the mine near Homer.
What Georgetown officials think is good for them, however, is bad for the Homer area. Residents living closest to the proposed mine provided months of public input to Homer officials, who ultimately declined selling untreated water to Sunrise Coal. Homer will suffer the most from the consequences of the mining operations.
Risks to the environment from coal mining are legendary. Mining coal is a dirty business, spewing out coal dust and using huge quantities of water to process the coal. After processing, there are huge risks to contamination of our wells and waterways. Eventually valuable farmland will subside, resulting in land unsuitable for farming.
Mining is a short-term operation, leaving behind polluted and unusable land, toxic water that enters our river system and coal dust in the air. In other words, mining rapes the land for further habitation and farming.
Fortunately for Homer and other affected areas, Sunrise Coal does not have a permit yet. Sunrise does not yet have adequate road and rail access to ship the coal. Although many landowners have signed mineral right leases, Sunrise, to date, still lacks enough agreements. There is still time to learn more and become involved in protecting our environment from coal’s many impacts. Information is available from Stand Up To Coal http://www.stand
uptocoal.org/ and Prairie Rivers Network http://prairierivers.org/.