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Saline County loses coal mine and processing plant

SALINE COUNTY (WSIL) — Coal mines are closing across the country despite promises by President Trump to boost the industry.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports coal production fell to a 40-year low this year.

Here in southern Illinois Wildcat Hills Mine and the nearby Willow Lake Preparation Plant will lay off 225 workers. Wildcat Hills Mine is expected to close its doors in mid-December.

Senator Dale Fowler says he’s not happy about the closure.

Fowler says he’s working hard to bring in resources to the area, "It’s not just going back to session to be a voice. You know each and everyday, I’m on the phone talking to different companies to different consultant and networking and marketing what we have here."

Congressman John Shimkus sent a letter to President Trump about the closure. It’s a move Senator Fowler agrees with.

He says awareness is key, "We need to let everyone know. We need to let the president know. Our congress. Everyone know throughout the whole legislative processes if its federal or state about the devastation."

Dr. Karen Weiss from Southeastern Illinois College says years ago when Sahara Coal closed the college worked with the employees there to get them back on their feet, "Certainly we offer finical aid that they can come in and get one of our programs so we have that retraining available for them."

She says the college is available for anyone who needs help.

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News 3 Staff

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