IL coal mining instructor says industry faces more obstacles - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IL coal mining instructor says industry faces more obstacles

HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - The Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency should have considered the cost of their regulations before setting toxic emissions rules.

Justices said the EPA unreasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act when it put limits on the coal power plants, and ruled against the EPA's power plant mercury limits.

With coal mining being a major industry in Southern Illinois, coal mining safety instructor, Toy Dixon said Monday's ruling is a step in the right direction, but there are still plenty of obstacles for coal miners here in the area.

“This is big for us, but it's not enough,” coal mining instructor, Toy Dixon said.

Dixon has been coal mining instructor in Harrisburg, Illinois for the past six years and apart of the coal mining industry for 40 years.

“This will make this a little bit easier, if we do win the ruling and says yes, we can burn Illinois coal and mine here in our state. We're talking about anywhere from about seven to 12 thousand jobs.”

Dixon said here in the state of Illinois, due to the Clean Air Act, and chemical makeup of the state's coal, places like Saline County are unable to burn its own coal, costing jobs and revenue to the area.

“It doesn't make any difference what the Supreme Court says in this here ruling if we can't burn the coal here in Illinois, that we mine here,” Dixon said. “We got to burn out coal here in Illinois, or none of this makes any difference.”

Dixon said instead, they're having to get their coal from Wyoming because it complied with EPA's regulations.

“Here we are burning our lights, the very lights that they're [the students] sitting here taking these class that they're trying to see by, but we're getting the energy from a thousand miles away when we're sitting on 6 to 12 to 14 feet of coal…and we can't burn it because of the laws.”

Dixon said the coal mining industry has been on the decline here in southern Illinois for some time.

Now the EPA is planning to propose more regulations on power plants they say cause global warming but already some states have started to object to those rules.

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