Shimkus addresses the 'war on coal' in the House of Representatives
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) took to the House floor this week to discuss the human element of what he calls President Obama’s "war on coal."
The House has debated energy legislation this week. Shimkus took this opportunity to remind his fellow representatives about the toll this takes on jobs and local communities.
“The human toll is lost jobs, lost benefits, and bankruptcies which then creates a risk to the promised pension payments to retirees,” Shimkus said. “It becomes a loss of revenue to the taxing districts, to the counties, to the villages, to the first line responders and support for our schools. It dries up the ability for the local grocery store and the local hardware store to operate. It is devastating to southern Illinois.”
In his address, Shimkus pointed to the town of Galatia in Illinois, where the New Era coal mine will close in 2016. Shimkus quoted the town’s mayor, David Harrawood.
“It impacts everybody,” Harrawood told The Southern Illinoisan on November 10. “It doesn’t just impact coal miners. It impacts trucking businesses, the stores, all their vendors. It’s not just one segment. Down here, we’re all tied together.”
Shimkus’s point was to show, at the most local level, the effect of the war on coal. New Era and its sister mine, New Future, employed about 700 people before some layoffs earlier this year. According to the National Mining Association, each Illinois coal job supports 3.8 other jobs in the economy.