The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

June 7, 2013

Tired of scare tactics


CATLIN — Editor:

The environmentalists from Champaign County have been working overtime writing letters to the editor with the same tired scare tactics about coal mining and allowing supporters to sign their names to them.

One letter remarked how their children won’t be able to play in the Salt Fork River when the coal company comes. These parents should think twice about their kids playing in the river now because of consistent high nitrate levels. High nitrate levels can cause health issues for young children and makes water treatment for potable water more difficult.

In years past, Prairie Rivers Network would print letters in local papers blaming high nitrate levels on local farmers and their irresponsible application of fertilizer. You won’t see any letters like that now because they want local farmers to join the fight against Sunrise Coal Co.

Look out farmers, when Sunrise starts coal production in Vermilion County, Prairie Rivers will be breathing down your necks again.

A few years ago, a contractor working for the University of Illinois released a large quantity of ammonia to the Northeast Treatment Plant of the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District. The result was a fish kill on the Salt Fork alone of more than 35,000 fish. Recently, the UCSD Northeast Plant renewed its NPDES permit. What amazes me is that the IEPA only requires this wastewater plant to test for ammonia two days a week.

After the disaster on the Salt Fork, why aren’t they required to test seven days a week? Why is Prairie Rivers not demanding this?

Chuck Nesbitt