- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

ELKHART, Ill. (AP) - Owners of a central Illinois coal mine are seeking a zoning change to allow the expansion of a coal-waste storage facility.

The Viper Mine proposal goes before Logan County zoning officials Thursday. The meeting is expected to draw a crowd, including opponents.

Elkhart Village President Lyle Fout tells the State Journal-Register in Springfield (https://bit.ly/1CEPaBO ) that village officials want to know how the storage facility would affect the local water supply.

Viper Mine’s operators issued a statement Monday assuring residents the facility was being “carefully engineered to operate safely, and to ensure protection of the environment.”

The owners say the mine needs more waste storage capacity and 300 local jobs are at stake. Viper Mine supplies coal to City Water, Light and Power, the electric utility in Springfield.

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