May 24, 2012
It was Standing Room Only at Public Meeting on Proposed Underground Coal Mine Near Village of Homer in Vermilion County
by Traci Barkley, Water Resources Scientist
On Wednesday evening, over 100 residents, farmers, landowners and Salt Fork River stakeholders turned out to an informational meeting and public forum at the Salt Fork Center at Homer Lake.
I gave a presentation on the threats to clean and abundant water from a proposed underground coal mine east of the Village of Homer in Vermilion County, Illinois.
There is too much at stake with too little information disclosed. Over 19,500 acres worth of mineral rights have already been signed over to Sunrise Coal yet we don’t know whether this will be a room and pillar or longwall mine, where the water will come from, where the wastewater will be discharged to and where the toxic coal slurry pits will be built. This has gotten too far with too little oversight.
Other panelists included:
- Cathy Edmiston and Mary Ellen DeClue, both landowners in Montgomery County who spoke of the tricks a coal company played on their elected officials in securing water rights and land for an underground longwall mine within their city limits in Hillsboro;
- Jim Smith, a 5th generation Champaign County farmer who spoke of the importance of family farming and a long time commitment to the land, family and communities;
- Charles Goodall, a 6th generation Vermilion County farmer who highlighted the need for transparency on behalf of our elected officials and the need to have strong legal representation to protect community interests and resources, and;
- Mayor Dave Lucas of the Village of Homer, who explained the current state and future of water negotiations between the Village of Homer and Sunrise Coal.
“We must be able to protect our communities and our resource base. We need transparency based on timely and accurate information from the officials we’ve chosen to serve us and from companies that want to do business here,” said Charles Goodall, a Vermilion County farmer and landowner. “We must put behind us the days when we are ambushed by mining companies.”
“Be watchful of mines and how it is done. Coal companies can go back on their word and often do. And remember, no special perks for the mine from county!”
Attendees were encouraged to organize and work together to help keep farmland and clean water safe from the proposed coal mine. All were invited to a stakeholder meeting to continue the discussion about how we can protect our quality of life, land, water and communities.
Vermilion Mine Stakeholder Meeting
June 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Homer United Methodist Church
301 South Main St, Homer, IL
Attendees were also encouraged to speak up to their elected officials about concerns and to ask questions. Now is the time to let elected officials know that we value our clean water, and support their efforts to protect our communities’ resources.
Upcoming County Board Meetings
- Champaign County Board: May 24th and June 21st 2012, 7:00 pm, Brookens Administrative Center, Urbana.
- Vermillion County Board: June 12th 2012, 6:00 pm, Courthouse Annex Building in Danville.
Upcoming Village Board Meetings
- Village of Homer: June 11th 2012, 7:00 pm, Village Hall Conference Room, Homer
- Village of Broadlands: June 6th, 7:00 pm
- Village of Sidney: June 13th, 7:00 pm, Town Hall, Sidney
- Village of Ogden: June 7th, 7:00 pm
- Village of St. Joseph: June 12th, 7:30 pm
- Village of Oakwood: June 11th, 6:30 pm, Village Hall, 106 South Scott Street
UPDATED June 15th, 2012:
On May 23rd, 2012 Traci Barkley of Prairie Rivers Network, and Vermilion County farmers Charles Goodall and Sue Smith gave an extensive interview with WEFT 90.1 FM’s Terry Donovan on the proposed coal mine: Listen here.