Residents sound off on a proposal for 'strip mining' in Saline County


WPSD Reporters

COTTAGE GROVE, Ill. - Peabody Coal is waiting on approval from the Department of Natural Resources to strip mine more of Saline County.

That is the process in which the surface of the land is removed, in this case more than 1,000 acres worth, and coal is mined underneath.

Chris Schimp lives just above a snow-covered hill on Grayson Road.

Below the hill, a massive crater created by a strip mine in 2010.

He documented the progress of the mining through pictures.

"You can see my house in the background past the pond and the dust coming up," said Schimp.

In the next picture, the cloud of yellow dust overtakes his home.

"My house has disappeared in that yellow muck," said Schimp.

Now Peabody Coal wants to mine in Cottage Grove, a small township just south of Route 13.

"I don't any place in Illinois that's any prettier than Southern Illinois," said Judy Kellen, a Cottage Grove resident.

Kellen moved to Cottage Grove in the 70's for the simple life.

"It wasn't leave it to beaver, but it was pretty close," said Kellen.

She is worried that the mining will destroy her farmland, her water sources and her lifestyle.

"If Peabody's going to treat them like they treated us, they're going to have a hard time," said Schimp.

Kellen says her golden years are being compromised by big business in small-town Illinois.

"They're going to run us out of our homes," said Kellen.

Local 6 reached out to Peabody Coal for a comment but have not heard back from them.