The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Letters to the Editor

April 1, 2014

Coal dust is no minor concern

Coal dust is no minor concern

Editor:

If you thought the prospect of a coal mine in southwest Vermilion County meant a few inconveniences for the locals, think again. Residents of the Homer-Fairmount-Sidell-Allerton area will be exposed to levels of coal dust that should concern us all.

Coal dust will blow eastward from the massive piles at the processing site toward Jamaica school, which I believe is close enough to coat playground equipment and penetrate window leaks. Coal dust is a trigger for asthma and childhood allergies, and causes chronic bronchitis.

According to a 2001 study, people living near coal mines suffer a higher than normal rate for cardiopulmonary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension and kidney disease. That fact alone is concerning, but there’s more.

Consider the railroad running east out of Homer. Because most coal trains are uncovered, they generate significant amounts of coal dust en route. Up to 645 pounds of coal dust blows off each coal car during a 400-mile trip, or 40 tons per train. In time, enough dust accumulates on the rail bed to gum up the tracks and cause derailments … at least 18 in the second half of 2012 with four deaths. Well water also can become contaminated from large amounts of dust and its carcinogens.

Join me and take a stand against the degradation of our community. Call Gov. Quinn’s office at (217) 782-0244 or email him via this link: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/ContacttheGovernor.aspx. Ask him to deny a permit for Sunrise Coal and also remind him that you vote.

Jason Lindsey

Champaign

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