Peabody Looks To Expand Southern Illinois Coal Mine

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BENTON, Ill. (AP) — Peabody Energy says it wants to expand strip mining at one of its southern Illinois sites, and an environmentalist worries that could harm the area’s ecology.

St. Louis-based Peabody held a public hearing Wednesday night about expansion plans involving its 11-year-old Wildcat Hills operation in Gallatin and Saline counties.

But WSIL-TV reports that a regional member of the Green Party, Rich Whitney, worries that broadening the strip mining could disrupt or destroy the nearby ecosystems, or perhaps harm groundwater systems. He says that’s too high of a price to pay.

Peabody spokeswoman Meg Gallagher says the company would restore the land to farm use and that its permit will ensure that environmental standards are met.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press

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