SALINE COUNTY, IL -
It was an unexpected turn for a proposed strip mine in Southern Illinois.
Monday night, the newly appointed Road Commissioner for Cottage Grove, Michael Karns, decided not to close Rocky Branch Road and turn it over to Peabody Energy. Karns is a former Peabody employee.
Many environmentalists considered the decision a major win over Peabody Energy, but not Georgia De La Garza.
"These are all baby steps," said De La Garza. "We haven't even began to get into this. We feel like we're on the front lines but this is a long term war."
A long term fight that Cottage Township Trustee Judy Kellen says she is more than happy to pick to save the home she has spent the last 40 years of her life building.
"What are we going to leave for your generation if there aren't a few of us older folks that are going to stand up," said Kellen. "There's still enough John Wayne left in this older generation to stand for what is right and what Peabody is doing is not right."
Attorneys for Peabody Energy asked the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to reschedule an appeal of their permit from July 2nd to either the 17th or the 25th.
Peabody released this statement on the decision not to close Rocky Branch Road saying "Operations at Cottage Grove will continue to advance using identified alternatives. Our priority is to maintain safety in the vicinity of the mine while fueling economic growth and jobs across the region."
De La Garza says the injunctions will be filed against the Cottage Township board of Trustee's later this week.