Grandpa mined coal at 2-3 tons a day. A young man, he was a victim of the great flu pandemic of 1918. Some miner lingo Dad remembered: It’s just coal; if you’re a miner you’re laid off; coal is just 10 years away; and he remembered the grievous mine disaster so near Christmas at West Frankfort.
All that changed. The Black Thunder Mines at Powder Mill Basin pulls 20 train-loads a day.
It’s said $60 oil sparks terrorism. Jimmy Carter said in 1977, we need to shift to plentiful coal. Jerry Costello said the 2005 energy bill called for tripling ethanol production, and we should use our coal gasification technology in lieu of natural gas; good for Illinois coal and corn.
A Mr. Harris noted when coal-fired plants closed in Ontario, electricity shot up 300 percent. He notes Illinois coal provides 43 percent of U.S. power from coal. See Mike Bassiers great letter of May 16.
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A coaling station is proposed near Longview, Wash. Environmentalists are fighting shipping our pollution to China. China is No. 3 in world reserves, but they might be able to import western coal cheaper than they can mine it.
It seems strange, so many people have waited, all the minerals we’ve used, non-fuel alike, and we still have coal. Still No. 1 in world reserves. Energy demand will soar, worldwide and here. The power in a lump of coal, we must use it.
Joe Fontana, Roxana