Tag Archives: Canton Lake

Citizens Win Eight-Year Battle to Stop Coal Strip Mine

Local Water Resources Saved Upstream of Public Water Supply Lake

IDNR Stream Protection Errors Exposed


CANTON, Ill. – The court case contesting the North Canton coal strip mine permit was officially ended January 16th, winning an eight-year battle by citizens of Fulton County to protect Canton Lake and its watershed that supplies drinking water to over 20,000 residents. Capital Resources Development Company LLC, an affiliate of Springfield Coal Company LLC, asked to terminate its Permit No. 385 before citizens reached a full court hearing where they had challenged the mine and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) regarding errors in the permit approval.

“For the residents of Canton and Orion townships this is wonderful news for our water supply and for our land,” said Brenda Dilts, Leader of the Canton Area Citizens for Environmental Issues, Canton Lake and Its Watershed (CACEI). “We did not want an arm of Springfield Coal, the company that had racked up over 600 water permit violations at the Industry Mine, discharging polluted water into our public water supply lake. The strip mine would destroy much of the natural drainage and be harmful to the environment, the watershed and to the people in the community.”

In February 2013, Sierra Club and members of CACEI won a state administrative level permit appeal in part and saved a major stream corridor proposed for strip mining about one mile upstream of Canton Lake. Sierra Club and a member of CACEI then filed in Fulton County Circuit Court in an effort to protect the five other streams in the strip mine permit. Most of the streams feed into the main tributary of Canton Lake, a public drinking water supply source.

During the permit challenge brought by the citizens, IDNR admitted on the witness stand, and the Department’s Hearing Officer found, that IDNR had an unwritten policy to ignore a part of its own regulatory definition of “intermittent stream,” thereby circumventing greater stream protections in the permit approval process.

“My farm and home would have been directly across from this mine if it had proceeded,” said Joe Cooper, member of CACEI. “I am so grateful to CACEI, Sierra Club, and all the local Canton people who helped raise alarms about how this could ruin our lake watershed. The state mine permit should never have been approved for this mine. The state mining agency simply was not doing its job to enforce the laws on the books. We proved that.”


“Planning a coal strip mine in the watershed that feeds the drinking water lake that supplies water to over half the population of Fulton County was never a good idea,” said Dr. Cindy Skrukrud, Clean Water Advocate for the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It took years of community pressure and legal action for this coal company to realizethat. We’re looking to the IDNR to make the institutional changes necessary to protect the integrity of vital water resources like Canton Lake in its permitting decisions, in line with the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.”

Citizens raised funds to hire an attorney and an expert hydro-geologist through bake sales, garage sales, and a wide range of fund-raisers over the years. Springfield Coal Company owns other mines and also makes revenue back-hauling coal ash from power plants for dumping at old mines.

“The significance of Springfield Coal Company’s permit withdrawal cannot be overstated. This coal company – with sites all over the state and all kinds of coal reserves – was defeated by the dedication, caring and hard work of local citizens,“ said Joyce Blumenshine, Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club Chair. ”Our attorney, David Wentworth, with the Hasselberg Grebe Snodgrass Urban Wentworth firm in Peoria, had a tremendous case to stop this mine. We fought hard in the community and in court to protect the lake and streams. The fact the mine decided to give up on the eve of our court hearing says a lot.”



Brenda Dilts,  Canton Area Citizens for Environmental Issues, 309-338-9748

Joyce Blumenshine, Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club, 309-678-1011

 Dr. Cindy Skrukrud, Illinois Chapter Sierra Club,  312-251-1680 x110


Beware: A Scary Tale Forewarned

halloween catIt’s Halloween and North Canton Mine is up and running at last.
Everything the old hags, old folks and CACEI predicted has come to pass.
The animals are gone and the trees too.
The goblins can’t hide and scare you with a “boo.”

The eagles fly high with no place to perch.
Their nests are all gone, sending them on a search.
The coyotes have left with their nightly howling noise.
Now it’s blasting and lights to keep you annoyed.

Meanwhile back on the once beautiful land that had a story to tell,
The devil and his witches have destroyed our lake and wells.
The cemetery was moved, it’s gone and so went the dead.
This what the environmentalist foretold, with dread.

The underground railroad that saved many lives,
Was part of our history and now is gone forever instead.
Instead of “hoot, hoot, hoot”, the owls say “boo hoo”.
And the poor little Turtles Doves no longer coo.

Where once stood a deer so proud and tall,
Now he turns tail and runs as the trees fall.
The fertile farm fields are now in ruin, times are darkest,
There are no longer large crops for the farmers to harvest.

The beautiful streams that once flowed freely,
Are full of dead critters and fish on their bellies.
All by himself, stands a lonely scarecrow,
‘cause in the barren farmland, nothing will grow.

We rush to the faucet to get a drink, we try,
No water comes out, the well has gone dry.
Instead of clean vapors arising from the lake,
Now it’s just toxic gasses, to save the lake it’s too late.

The above-mentioned area is surely now a ghostly site,
A few temporary jobs will never set things right.
There go the monstrous trucks running down the highway,
Look out, get over or you’ll be squashed and left by the byway.

Witches around their Pot of Gold, cackling “hee, hee, hee”.
Just wait, time will tell, but it will be too late when the truth you see.
A coal mine with many skeletons in the closet,
To the Citizens of Canton, they really have “socked it.”

Thanks to CACEI (Canton Area Citizens for Environmental Issues) for their scary tale
Tell Governor Quinn to Protect the Prairie State from Mining Horror Stories!

Tell Governor Quinn to Protect the Prairie State from Mining Horror Stories!