Sunrise Coal, LLC.’s plan to mine coal in Champaign and Vermilion Counties presents many challenges to local residents. While many of us were approached by Sunrise to sign coal leases in private, we felt that we were not provided with enough information to make a well informed decision. It became clear that Sunrise land agents avoid topics that would shed light on how coal mining and processing can affect public health and contaminate water supplies. What does Sunrise Coal LLC not want us to know?
The prospect of a new coal mine raises important issues that warrant public discussion. We have learned that coal mining under farmland can damage both the land and its drainage. Coal waste handling and disposal at the mine site may contaminate the groundwater that we rely on for drinking. Coal mining in general poses serious risks to public health, and can degrade the resource base of a community in ways that are real and lasting.
We owe it to ourselves to thoughtfully consider the impact a new coal mine might have on our lives. We have accepted our land resources as gifts to manage; we need to accept responsibility for their protection. We are members of a community; we have a new and important opportunity to acknowledge that membership and discuss our shared future.
We hope the information included here promotes discussion. We’ll add new information from time to time, and we always welcome your response.