August 3, 2012
At the meeting of the Village of Homer Water Committee on Monday July 30th, approximately 50 residents packed the meeting hall to voice their opposition to Sunrise Coal, LLC’s request for the village of Homer to provide the mine with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water daily for their proposed “Bulldog” coal mine.
Sunrise is trying to secure the land and resources it needs to open an underground coal mine in Vermilion County, which would include a mine portal, cleaning plant and waste disposal site southeast of Homer. The project has yet to receive approval from the necessary state and federal agencies.
Most of the water that Sunrise is seeking from Homer would be used for coal washing, generating hundreds of millions of gallons of coal slurry that would require turning hundreds of acres of Vermilion County farmland into over 75-foot tall coal waste dumps. Coal slurry is high in chlorides, sulfates, and harmful metals such as arsenic, chromium, cadmium, mercury and selenium. Hundreds of local residents have already signed a petition opposing the proposed coal mine, which would send its wastewater into the treasured Salt Fork River system.
While Prairie Rivers Network applauds the Village of Homer for proceeding cautiously and carefully in their evaluation of potential legal issues and threats to existing water uses, we encourage the Village leaders to consider whether coal mining is the best use of the area’s limited water supply. The drought of 2012 has reminded many of the importance of clean and abundant water, particularly in places like Homer, where water is and will continue to be scarce. Wise management of local water resources is essential for the long term growth and prosperity of communities in southwest Vermilion County, as well as the health and continuing recovery of the Salt Fork River.
The full Homer Village Board will consider the Water Committee’s recommendations at their meeting on Monday, August 13th at the Homer Village Hall. Residents are encouraged to attend and express their support for protecting the residents, farmers and wildlife that rely on clean and abundant water to survive.
Read more about the Water Committee’s meeting in the News Gazette (PDF), published on July 30, 2012. See our previous post about the proposed Sunrise “Bulldog” mine, and our coal page for more information about coal mining pollution in Illinois.
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