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On Shaky Ground – September 24, 2014

Longwall coal mining is sinking farmland in Illinois

South-central Illinois boasts some of the richest farmland in the world. It’s a land of corn and soybeans – a land as flat as a pool table that stretches until it meets the horizon far in the distance.

Lately, something strange has been happening to this land. You’re driving along, and suddenly you see an entire field that has sunk six feet below the surrounding fields. And you see that during the frequent spells of rain, pools of water have gathered in the field. Some areas are completely submerged.

photo of crops in a flat farmland, looming dark band of hill in the backgroundmore

by: Christopher Johnson

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Southeast Chicago’s Battle Against Petcoke – July 3, 2014

Residents and local environmental groups face well-financed foes – Charles and David Koch

On August 30, 2013, a vicious windstorm ripped through Chicago’s Southeast Side, blowing clouds of thick, black dust into the neighborhoods of this working-class corner of the city. The winds deposited the sticky dust on windows, screens, porches, lawns, and sidewalks. If you were unlucky enough to be outside, the dust attached itself like leeches to your skin. People couldn’t just rub it off; they had to scrub it off.

photo of an industrial plant by a watercoursephoto by Christopher JohnsonDuring storms, petcoke and its array of chemicals can wash into the nearby Calumet River.

The black dust was petroleum coke – petcoke for… more

by: Christopher Johnson

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