Interested in learning first-hand about the true cost of coal in Illinois? Join Sierra Club, citizen activists, award-winning author Jeff Biggers, and water quality professionals from the Heartland Coalfield Alliance for a two-day tour of southern Illinois’ coalfields. Participants will explore the impacts that the entire coal life cycle has on the lands, waters, health, and quality of life of southern Illinois communities.
We will depart from Carbondale Saturday morning as a group for a driving tour of the nation’s largest new coal-fired power plant and examples of contemporary surface and underground coal mines that feed such a plant. Participants will see a massive coal slurry and coal ash dump, areas subsided from longwall mining, and get the chance to hear directly from local residents who are concerned about the effects mining has on the quality of life and health of citizens, communities and coal miners. We’ll conclude the first day of the tour at a beautiful retreat center high atop bluffs overlooking the Ohio River, with entertaining,topical storytelling and poetry reading.
We’ll begin our Sunday tour taking in the magnificent views from the bluff top at the edge of the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area. From there we will drive down into Eagle Creek Valley to witness the devastation that occurs to the land and communities when the land is cleared and stripped away. A spectacular drive over Eagle Mountain and along the northern side of Wildcat Hills will take us out into the Saline River valley where strip mining is occurring a rapid pace.
This tour is intended for concerned citizens who want to learn what they can do to promote a just transition from a coal economy to a sustainable economy in America’s heartland.