Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Coal Mining and the Salt Fork River

Sunrise Coal, of Terre Haute, Indiana, has been planning to develop a coal mine in an approximately 70 square mile area of Vermilion and Champaign counties, and over the past two years has been obtaining leases for mineral rights from landowners. Recent articles in both the News-Gazette and The Leader have reported that the Village of Homer is partnering with Sunrise Coal to provide the necessary water – both from wells and from the Salt Fork River - for coal operations.

Some of the wastewater from the coal extraction, crushing, and washing operations will apparently be deposited into the Salt Fork River basin. This has the potential for adding sediments and pollutants such as heavy metals and salts into waters now used for drinking water supplies, fish and wildlife habitat,and livestock watering.

This has raised concerns for ourselves and for neighbors, farmers, landowners, anglers, paddlers, scout activities at Camp Drake, and the ecological health of the river and adjoining riparian corridor. We are interested in bringing together the stakeholders of this region in an effort to have a full and transparent discussion. Hopefully, it would be possible to work together to voice shared concerns and obtain answers to open questions with a goal of identifying solutions that can ensure the vital life of the Salt Fork River and its watershed, as well as a sustainable future for our communities. For more information, see Stand Up to Coal and the links above

4 comments:

  1. Any way to find out how much the city of Homer is benefiting from the partnership with the coal company ($) ?

    Seems rather disrespectful on many levels for Homer to sell out one of it's prime ways of attracting people to it's town, or maybe that's deliberate. If they can make $ without having to actually do business, maybe that seems like a better way to go. Except that they will be shitting where they (and a lot of others) sleep.

    Thanks for posting this and please keep us informed. LR Braddock

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  2. I don't know the specifics of the water plans but in regard to how much the village is benefiting, that will be a matter of public record.

    If anyone is concerned or has questions they should attend Village Board meetings. Board meetings are open to the public and are generally held the second Monday of each month at 7pm at the Homer Village Hall.

    Christine Cunningham
    (and in the spirit of full-disclosure, my husband is a Village Board member)

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  3. The issue in this post is not dollars. If Homer wants to sell their water and/or services, that's their business. Rather, the issue presented in the context of this blog concerns water quality in general, and in the Salt Fork in particular. Questions exist about how much water might be removed from the Salt Fork, how much and with what quality water would be returned to the Salt Fork (and possibly elsewhere), and what the potential environmental impact of those actions might be. Posts like this are simply looking for answers to these questions (if they exist) and raising issues for discussion.

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