Some excited, concerned over proposed coal-fired power plant in Waltonville

By Arnold Wyrick
WALTONVILLE, IL (KFVS) - News of a coal-fired power plant potentially coming to the small Jefferson County town of Waltonville has many folks talking.  For many of the 450 residents, this time they hope it needs up being more than just talk.
"It really be really good for our town if it becomes a reality," said Janice Laur, owner of The Waltonville Cafe.  "If it's all talk it won't do any good."
The Chicago based company Power Holding LLC is proposing building a coal powered plant that would produce synthetic natural gas.  According to a company press release, it would create some 1,200 construction jobs over a three year period, employ 200 full-time plant operators and 400 new coal mining jobs.
"Well from the job standpoint I think it would be really good for our area.  We're pretty depressed jobs wise around here," said Allen Haley of Waltonville.
But, some folks who live out near the proposed building site of the power plant aren't so happy about it potentially coming to their front yards.
"We have a lot of concerns with the potential amount of run-off.  How will that affect our water and our animals," said Whitney Hill of Waltonville.
"And the emissions because the research we've done so far on the emissions coming out of the plant are very harmful to children, especially young children," Hill said.  "And we have eight kids here on the farm all day long.  And that concerns us greatly."
The Hill family, along with hundred of other residents in the Waltonville area plan to meet with company officials to voice their concerns and opinions about the power plant on Tuesday night during a public hearing in Du Bois, Illinois.