Possible Coal Mine Expansion Has Elkhart Residents Concerned

More than 200 Elkhart residents gathered Thursday night, in fear for the quality of their water.  The meeting comes after they learned a coal mining company wants to expand its facility.  The substance that everyone is afraid of is fly ash, the residue left behind after burning coal.  The company, Viper Mine, already has a pretty large coal refuse disposal site in the area, but they need more space.  The space they want to grow into is very close to a local aquifer and borders a vital groundwater system.  Residents fear that if the disposal site isn't well maintained, their water supply won't be either.  In Thursday night's debate, representatives from Viper Mine attempted to persuade the Logan County Zoning Commission to re-zone the agriculture land next to the mine into commercial land, so they can go forth with the expansion of their current coal refuse disposal site.  Representatives of the company vowed to keep the disposal site secure because they value the health of Elkhart residents.  However, many people who live in Elkhart don't trust that the proposed safety measures are strong enough.  They believe the expansion is too close to the nearby aquifer and will contaminate the groundwater because it's so close to Elkhart's main lake.  The Logan County Zoning Commission was supposed to make a recommendation to the Logan County Board, Thursday night.  But that didn't happen, so the commission will meet again, make the recommendation, and the County Board will vote on October 21st.

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