City speaks out against coal terminal
METROPOLIS, Ill. — Bad for your lungs, bad for your property, bad for business and bad for the look of a city. That's how one local city described plans for a coal terminal in our area.
As a major coal company takes more steps toward putting that coal terminal in McCracken County, folks in nearby Metropolis, Illinois, are taking steps to fight it.
The C.E.O. of Southern Coal Handling said the terminal will create up to 60 full-time, good paying jobs.
But city leaders in Metropolis are asking, at what cost? They fear their town will be constantly covered in soot and have to deal with noises coming from the terminal.
Despite those concerns, the company purchased nearly 200 acres in west McCracken County and have applied for permits.
Right now, they're waiting for approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.
The coal company C.E.O. said the city can do whatever they want but plans to build this terminal are well under way. The C.E.O. told Local 6 the dust and noise won't be a problem for Metropolis but folks in southern Illinois said they know the way the wind blows.
They fear the wind will pick up the coal dust and carry it right across the river and into their city.
So the city is drafting a resolution to try to make the company keep the dust and noise on the Kentucky side of the river or stop the terminal altogether.
The official tourism season starts in less than a month. But before the Americana Hollywood Museum re-opens, owner Jim Hambrick has a lot of work to do.
During each winter, some of the legends of Hollywood get real dirty and it's due to no fault of their own.
"The majority of it is soot. Where does it come from? Comes from the river," Hambrick said.
Hambrick said coal dust blows off the barges and sticks to the stars like glue.
"On some surfaces you can't clean it. You just have to repaint it over and over again," Hambrick said.
The very thought of a coal terminal troubles Hambrick and according to the city attorney, residents, downtown developers and the city itself share those sentiments.
"Nobody's going to want to invest money in developing the riverfront if they're constantly fighting dust and noise," city attorney Rick Abell said.
The C.E.O. of Southern Coal Handling said the permit for which he applied doesn't even allow the company to store coal, so there should be no problems with air quality or dust. However, across the river, city leaders are still concerned.
"There's going to be times where that coal has to sit on the ground until it can be loaded. So how are you going to control dust when winds blow across that coal pile," Abell said.
Hambrick hopes the city can stop the coal company altogether, because keeping his place clean and open is hard enough as it is.
The city attorney is still working on that resolution. He said he just wants an open line of communication and would even like the company to hold a public forum in Metropolis so residents could ask the company about some of these issues, face to face.
The city attorney said at this point, they can't force the coal company to do anything but if the city's fears come true and folks in Metropolis are dealing with significant dust that causes property damage after the terminal opens, he said individuals or the city could sue the company for damages.
The Southern Coal C.E.O. said the coal terminal is about a $30 million investment.