Coming coal company causing controversy

Local News

VERMILION COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — There has been talk of a proposed coal mine in the area for years.

It could become reality in a matter of months, but not if a grassroots operation has anything to say about it. Stand Up to Coal says it will fight the Bulldog Coal Mine to the end, and the end might be sooner rather than later.

Sunrise Coal Company could get the permits it needs by fall. Despite opposition from some, others say they’re all for it.

“I think everybody’s looking forward to the time that they come and that’s most of the questions I get. When are they coming? What have you heard?”

Vermilion County Board member Chuck Nesbitt says what he’s heard about Sunrise Coal Company’s proposed Bulldog Mine is good. From economic benefits to company quality.

“The 300 jobs. We need those in Vermilion County and then the spin-off jobs too. Look back and check their safety records. They’ve been a safe mine, all the mines they’ve operated in.”

Nesbitt represents the district where the Bulldog Mine would go. He says his constituents are onboard too.

“I think everybody’s positive and can’t wait ’til they get here.”

But, hundreds of people who support Stand Up to Coal disagree. The grassroots group is determined to keep the Bulldog Mine out of Central Illinois. They say it could contaminate water, air and farmland.

Sunrise Coal has until September to pay an application fee and show proof of bonds required to get its permits. Then comes a 30-day public comment period.

A leader of the grassroots group says it’s already preparing to petition against the permits. Meanwhile, people like Nesbitt say they can’t come soon enough.

“It’s been a long time coming, but I can’t wait.”

The debate over the Bulldog Mine goes back to 2009. It’s when Sunrise started leasing land from residents. The land is underneath a lot of farm fields.

Sunrise says the mine would create 300 permanent jobs with an average salary of $76,000. 

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