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Toxic foam dumped into Franklin County mine in failed attempt to control underground fire

Sugar Camp Energy
Foresight Energy
/
Foresight Energy
Sugar Camp Energy, Franklin Co.

Environmental advocates are crying foul after they say a Franklin County coal mine used toxic foam to try to put out an underground fire.

St. Louis based Foresight Energy owns the Sugar Camp Energy coal mine just east of Benton.

In September, environmentalists say perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl was use to try to extinguish an underground fire.

Sierra Club Senior Toxics Policy Advisor Sonya Lunder says these chemicals are highly dangerous to people.

“When they're in our bodies, they damage lots of different parts of us. They're linked to kidney and liver and testicular cancer; they damage the immune system. They harm our internal organs and if you get exposed during pregnancy, they have a lot of effects on a healthy pregnancy itself, as well as a child's body once it's born.”

PFAS chemicals are being phased out of Illinois and 11 other states because they’re environmentally harmful and remain in the environment forever.

According to documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune lawyers with Foresight told state officials the foam used was biodegradable.

The IEPA issued a violation to Sugar Camp Energy due to the spillage and leaks from storage and transfer of the foam, but they do not regulate underground mines.

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