Coal has been a part of the history and culture of southern Illinois since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Illinois coal powered St. Louis' mighty engines and Chicago's as well.
It is a 3000 year old technology.
It is also almost 100% carbon, which in burning produces carbon dioxide (CO2).
Carbon dioxide adds to global warming. It is not the worst greenhouse gas, but there's lots of it.
Global warming is real. Ask a farmer. They're very conservative.
The only deniers are the scientifically illiterate or the paid stooges masquerading as representatives of the people.
It is current propaganda to villainize environmentalists for the loss of coal jobs.
The truth is, the greatest loss of coal jobs comes through automation.
Bringing back coal will not bring back jobs except for a few truck mechanics and minimum-wage security personnel.

And yet, irony of ironies! Coal has a place in our culture!
Metallurgical coal, chemical feedstock, coking coal, analine dyes, pure carbon source.
And if graphene, buckyballs and nano-tech take off, coal may be a resource for carbon for these applications.
If someone wants to limit coal, what about that "burnable dirt" from out west that eliminates coal jobs here (and is burned here of all places)?
That's the dirty stuff in comparison.

So what to do?
Protect existing jobs first. Research alternative uses for coal which don't involve conversion to CO2.
Retrain those who want it. Make life acceptable for those who can't.

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