Illinois Coal Association

Bill Meier / FLICKR / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Illinois coal mines lost 228 jobs in the last year, according to numbers from the federal agency that tracks mine safety. That’s fewer jobs than were shed in 2016, and production is up by around 11 percent in the state.

The trend is encouraging, said Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association. He attributes the shift in part to President Donald Trump’s roll-back of the Clean Power Plan and other environmental regulations during his first year in office.

Illinois Issues: State Marches Toward Clean Energy

May 18, 2017
Dylan Blake

Even as a landmark clean energy plan unravels in D.C., Illinois is on track to meet the coal emissions reduction goals it set.

flickr/oatsy40

The head of an Illinois coal industry trade group is panning President Barack Obama's plans for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the proposed regulations on Monday in an effort to cut power-plant carbon dioxide emissions. The Illinois Coal Association's Phil Gonet calls them ``unfair.'' He says the rules could squeeze the supply of U.S. electricity, raising rates.

  Environmentalists in central Illinois are calling for tougher regulations on the coal industry. They say coal companies are using land to profit, then leaving residents with a mess.

Director of the Sierra Club's Illinois Chapter Jack Darin acknowledges the regulations the state already has in place. He says the problem is Illinois' lax enforcement of those laws against coal companies.

"Unless they're held accountable for these actions, then what good are the strongest regulations that the state can write?" he said.