IL – Illinois State Senator Gary Forby (D–Benton) and Illinois State Representative Brandon Phelps (D–Harrisburg) are calling on Gov. Quinn to step in and take quick action to prevent Willow Lake Mine from shutting down, which will result in a loss of 500 permanent mining jobs and affect an additional 3,500 indirect jobs in the state.
“We are 100 percent behind
Lake coal mine and its workers,” Senator Forby said. “We will continue to do everything we can to fight for this mine and prevent it from being shut down. We have sent a letter to the governor’s office, as well as other elected officials, asking them to step in and do whatever they can to keep this site operating. Our area, and our state, cannot afford to lose hundreds of good-paying jobs.”
Over the past two years, federal regulators with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) have written more than $230,000 proposed fines and citations at Willow Lake Mine in
County, but in an effort to address MSHA’s concerns, Willow Lake Mine began idling production last year to focus more on safety.
Lake earned recognition from the John E. Jones Council of the Holmes Safety Association as the safest underground mine in the region during 2010’s fourth quarter. According to the letter, the mine has reduced the number of violations in permissibility and ventilation by 100 percent and reduced its overall accident incident rate by 89 percent.
“This is an issue of fairness,” Representative Phelps said. “
Willow Lake Mine was just named one of the safest coal mines in
Southern Illinois for last quarter, but is appears MSHA is still singling them out. While we continue to promote mine safety throughout our region, we believe
Lake has made a concerted effort to improving safety standards and should remain open. We will continue to fight to keep the mine operating safely and efficiently.”