New coal regulations possible in Illinois


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. - The coal industry is concerned about possible new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lawmakers, environmentalists and coal industry representatives attended listening sessions Friday in Chicago to discuss the regulations.

Mining happens five days a week at Knight Hawk Coal Mine.

The coal meets regulations now, but soon it might now.

The issue is carbon dioxide emissions.

A Carbondale environmentalist named Treesong says CO2 poses a serious threat.

"More co2 means more heat, more unstable weather, more damage to crops and to our livelihood," said Treesong.

But Representative Mike Bost says the potential regulations will make Illinois coal virtually useless.

"You can't meet those requirements," said Bost.

Knight Hawk Coal Mine employs more than 700 people.

Bost is concerned that if the EPA regulations go through, the employee parking lot would be empty.

"That provides "Joe" with a job at the mines, that he can go to every day, has a full weeks work, quite often overtime when he wants it, being able to provide for his family," said Bost.

Treesong says there are other ways to put food on the table.

"I say I would like to help them find employment. I think there are other ways to be employed that's part of a growing industry and not in an industry that's in decline," said Treesong.

"there are about 177,000 jobs than what we had 12 years ago. If he knows where those jobs are, I'd love for him to come and talk to me because I'd love to see it," said Bost.

Bost says while environmentalists are concerned for the future of the planet, he is concerned about today's job market.

The EPA plans to issue a proposal with the new regulations in June.