I am writing to comment on the arrangement between the city of Georgetown and Sunrise Coal. While our area has a history of coal mining it doesn’t mean that our future should be in coal mining; in fact there are many reasons why coal is an ill-advised venture for Vermilion County.
Coal mining has been known to take quite a toll on the way of life in rural communities because of its history of water contamination (wells, stream, and rivers) as well as farmland degradation (known subsidence and drainage problems). Noise, dust, and dangerous jobs come along with the bargain. Many coal miners end up with debilitating and life-threatening lung disease, and the public often ends up paying the associated health care costs.
There also is the looming threat of who takes over once the coal is gone. At the Murdock Mine south of here, a waste company from Michigan came in to reclaim the site. They turned the unlined impoundments into toxic slurry that will at some point threaten drinking water in area wells.
In view of these risks to our quality of life in Vermilion County, the least Georgetown can do is charge Sunrise Coal the true cost for the water they are using, not a reduced rate compared to our own residents. This is a small price to pay for the risks at hand: make Sunrise pay the price a commercial outfit should pay, not the residential rate.