Over the last several years, watching developments in the Patriot Coal bankruptcy and resulting fallout for workers has been a roller coaster for those of us who care about the workers who risked their lives for decades working hundreds of feet underground.
While the uncritical media reported that Illinois House members "bemoan the decline of the Illinois coal industry," it's a fact that Illinois is in the throes of an unprecedented and unmatched coal mining rush in the nation.
Coal companies, their lawyers and their hand-picked doctors will go to any length -- ethical or not -- to deny the small monthly benefits that stricken miners are due under the Black Lung Benefits Act.
Whether she runs for governor or not, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan would need nine lives to bring the state's notoriously broken regulatory system into compliance with the nation's most reckless coal industry.
House Republicans and the coal industry are putting profits and politics above public health, specifically above the health of those workers they are so quick to defend in pro-coal commercials and at public hearings.
Chu triumphantly told his Big Coal listeners that he would "save coal" by investing billions into still infeasible, prohibitively expensive, unproven and fanciful carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.