Newsflash:
Rep. Barbara Lee Stop Global Warming Illinois Strip Mine Showdown is Last Best Hope
Thursday, 13 February 2014 02:39

Illinois Strip Mine Showdown is Last Best Hope

Written by  Jeff Biggers | EcoWatch
It’s time to act anew and launch a Coalfields Regeneration Fund for southern Illinois—instead of throwing its residents to the whims of a boom and bust cycle of out-of-state coal companies. It’s time to act anew and launch a Coalfields Regeneration Fund for southern Illinois—instead of throwing its residents to the whims of a boom and bust cycle of out-of-state coal companies.

When besieged residents, already choked by toxic coal dust, face off with Peabody Energy officials on Feb. 18, in Harrisburg, at an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) hearing for a five-year strip mine expansion permit, more than 1,019 paltry acres will be at stake.

As President Lincoln once invoked in a moment of crisis, the courageous residents in the showdown at Cottage Grove are “our last best hope.”

For an electioneering Gov. Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and federal environmental officials now under the spotlight in West Virginia coal disasters,Tuesday night’s hearing will be a historic litmus test for anyone remotely concerned about civil rights, community rights and the spiraling water crisis from Illinois’ reckless and dangerous coal rush.

But faced with losing their homes, farms, health—and sheer sanity—from the blasting, potential flooding and non-stop industrial war-zone traffic of coal operators within 300 feet of their living rooms—southern Illinois residents in Cottage Grove with deep coal mining roots are finally taking a stand for coalfield justice.

Illinois deserves better, Gov. Quinn.

On one level, Tuesday’s night IEPA hearing is meaningless charade of a corrupt and completely rigged mine permitting process—as an inept IEPA official declared at a similar strip mining hearing three years ago in Macomb, the Illinois Environmental Protection has NEVER rejected a strip mining permit, at least in his memory. In fact, the strip mine near Macomb, already under state investigation for 600-plus Clean Water Act violations, received its permit. And last month, after federal officials forced the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to halt illegal logging by Peabody, the state officials simply shrugged and told a local newspaper that the “violation, though it will now become part of the application review, is not expected to derail Peabody’s chances for a permit because it is taking corrective steps.”

Illinois deserves better, Gov. Quinn.

Ever since Peabody sank its first historic coal mine in nearby Williamson County in 1895, paying children and laborers 25 cents a box for hand-loading two thousand pounds of coal in deadly conditions, southern Illinois coal miners like my grandfather and family members have taken a fearless stand for coalfield justice, galvanizing the United Mine Workers and Progressive Mine Workers movements for a over century.

Just last year, retired Peabody and Patriot union mine workers were engaged in a long battle for their very lives, health care and pensions, seemingly lost to a shameless bankruptcy scheme. After months of protests, negotiations, and litigation, Peabody finally came to the table for a retirement health fund for coal miners who had given their lungs and lives to the region’s mines.

Illinois deserves better, Gov. Quinn.

Isn’t it a disgrace enough that the state of Illinois remains in violation of the state law for a lack of mine safety inspectors, and state regulatory officials and politicians take contributions from the very coal companies they regulate—and at the same time, Illinois is giving millions of dollars of subsidies and charity hand-outs to out-of-state multinational corporations like Peabody Energy, which recorded more than $7 billion in revenues last year?

In fact, over the past few years, Peabody has already received an estimated $5.7 million in several state-funded welfare checks, including tax giveaways for its Cottage Grove strip mine: 

peabodywelfare

Illinois already loses $20 million annually, according to a recent study, maintaining the heavily mechanized coal industry.

Illinois deserves better.

Isn’t it a disgrace enough that Illinois, unlike West Virginia, is greenlighting the injection of toxic and deadly coal slurry in abandoned mines, knowingly jeopardizing the watersheds of residents and farms?

Isn’t it a disgrace enough that Illinois ranks at the top of a recent survey of the most spills and cases of contamination from toxic coal ash?

Illinois deserves better.

So do the courageous residents, farmers and retired coal miners, who will make history on Tuesday in Harrisburg, as they defend their lands and livelihoods—and our state—from a reckless strip mine.

Lincoln asked our country: “It is not ‘can any of us imagine better?’ but, ‘can we all do better?’ The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise—with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

It’s time to act anew and launch a Coalfields Regeneration Fund for southern Illinois—instead of throwing its residents to the whims of a boom and bust cycle of out-of-state coal companies.

Disenthrall yourself, Gov. Quinn, save Cottage Grove and its residents and waterways from this disaster.

Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.

Original article on EcoWatch

Read 5413 times

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Lee Campaign

Latest News from the Grayson Campaign

Latest News from the Schapira Campaign

  • Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race
    Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race

    With early ballots in the mail, and only three weeks from the August 28th primary, State Senator David Schapira has emerged as the Democratic standard-bearer in a closely watched and increasingly nasty three-way congressional race in Arizona that many observers see as a litmus test for national Democratic chances to pick up critical seats in Congress.

    Written on Thursday, 09 August 2012 01:45 Read more...
  • Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    “The primary in Congressional District 9 has pitted three of the brightest members of the Democratic Party in Arizona against each other. All three candidates are leaders in our state and I am honored to call them friends.

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 12:14 Read more...
  • A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira
    A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira

    Endorsements are a funny thing. Most of them aren't worth anything at all. I have two friends running in the Democratic primary in Arizona's brand new 9th CD, Kyrsten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. Kyrsten is a progressive and Andrei is somewhere in his own world ideologically. But the third guy... well, he's the one who's been endorsed by Raúl-- and by PDA. Whomever wins the August 28th primary is, likelier than not, headed to Congress. That third guy is David Schapira, the Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Saturday, 30 June 2012 13:38 Read more...
  • David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement
    David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement

    On the May Inside the Party call, David Schapira (AZ-9) received the PDA National endorsement. Currently David Schapira is the Arizona State Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Thursday, 24 May 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    The Arizona Communications Workers of America (CWA) State Council announced today their endorsement of Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in the race for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. The state council is comprised of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association (AZCPOA), the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and multiple CWA local affiliates.

    Written on Thursday, 17 May 2012 19:55 Read more...
  • Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira
    Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira

    Congressman Raúl Grijalva, AZ-07, today announced his endorsement of Arizona Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in his campaign for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. “Voters are looking for candidates who stand up for what they believe in and can win, not by hiding their values, but by sharing them with voters. David is that candidate,” said Rep. Grijalva.

    Written on Monday, 30 April 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Union Rights Stripped

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pushes the country's most anti-union agenda yet. David Shapira, Democratic leader of the Arizona state senate, slams his Republican colleagues. Welcome back to "The Ed Show." Jan Brewer and the Arizona Republicans are on a tear. they are on the offensive. they are on a mission to completely destroy public employee unions. have you heard the story before?

    Written on Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race
    State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race

    As predicted, former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema's not the only Democrat with her eye on Arizona's new Congressional seat -- this morning, state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira announced that he, too, will run in Arizona's newly formed 9th Congressional district.

    Written on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00 Read more...

Sign the ERA Petition

ERADemandButton

On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)

Button-SignERAPetition

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Rep. Barbara Lee

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of