A community in Southern Illinois will soon feel the impact of plans to close a coal mine. Peabody Energy has announced that it will permanently close its Willow Lake Mine near Harrisburg.
The St.Louis-based energy company cited the mine's failure to meet acceptable standards for safety, compliance, and performance. The closure will cost the region 400 jobs, and many of the mine's workers commute from surrounding counties, as well as Indiana and Kentucky. A Saline county official says the decision to close the mine so close to the Christmas season is "heartbreaking." County Board Chairman
Jay Williams told the Associated Press the job losses will have a ripple effect throughout the region. The unemployment rate in Saline County stood at 8.6% before the mine closure was announced.