News Local/State

Coal Company Says Mine Will Proceed Despite Homer Vote


A spokeswoman for an Indiana coal company says its plans for a mine near Homer will continue despite this week’s vote against a water contract.

Village trustees voted 3-2 Monday against selling treated water and sewer services to Carlisle, Indiana-based Sunrise Coal, but spokeswoman Suzanne Jaworowski said the company has alternatives for getting water, and mine development will proceed.

“We do have over 100 landowners who have leased their mineral rights to the project, and that represents over 19,000 acres of mineral rights,” she said.  “But the surface area for the property would be roughly 400 acres, which isn’t really a whole lot.  And we look forward to bringing 300 jobs to the area.”

Jaworowski said the company still expects to operate its mine by 2014.

Monday’s vote brought out cheers from opponents concerned about groundwater and air quality. They include the Prairie Rivers Network. The group’s Traci Barkley said Sunrise is limited by geography to determine where it will go next for water, since the site of the mine is already set.

Barkley said in many areas, the water supply could not provide the several thousand gallons of water needed.

“I think right now with this public victory with so many people standing up and pointing out why this is not a good idea for the future of their community, the future of their farmland, and really, with their limited water supplies," Barkley said. "I think they’re going to have a hard time finding other folks ready to engage in what Homer has gone through in the last 12 months.”

Barkley said it makes sense that Sunrise would proceed, but she said it is not the time to make large water requests in the wake of the 2012 drought.