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Locals react to closure of Carlisle coal mine

Sunrise Coal will focus its efforts on their mine in Oaktown.

Posted: Mar 10, 2020 6:08 PM

CARLISLE, Ind. (WTHI) - According to Sunrise Coal's parent company, Hallador Energy, the mine has experienced negative free cash flow for 18 months. That led to the closure.

Over $20 million worth of equipment and infrastructure will be now moved to Oaktown. The company hopes the move will help to reduce debt.

STATEMENT FROM SULLIVAN MAYOR CLINT LAMB

“First and foremost, our thoughts go to the workers and families of the Sunrise Coal Co. We’ve known for some time that our state, nation and the entire world have been looking at alternative energy sources. Having said that, it’s hard to wake up to news that impacts people you know and care about. The folks of Hoosier Energy, Merom Generating Station, and now Sunrise Coal, make up much of our community’s economic foundation. We mourn together the loss of their collective economic impact to our city, county, school corporation and our entire region. As Mayor of the City of Sullivan, I feel the devastation of these families and I take it personal. Therefore, we're not giving up on them. Our administration has already spent much of the day working with leaders in our community and region to develop a plan of action. We will be presenting a plan soon that will include county, state, economic and regional partners to help these families find not just hope, but a plan to move forward. The City of Sullivan and our entire community is a special place and we will come together and continue to do great things. It will be during this time that our coalition will persevere, and I truly believe that Sullivan's best days are ahead.”

However, Sunrise Coal is one of the biggest employers in Carlisle. Many residents News 10 spoke with Tuesday are concerned that losing those jobs means losing neighbors. 

The fear is that less population will mean higher tax rates and loosing what businesses they have left.

Sunrise's closure is one of a number of coal-based businesses that have announced closures in recent months. Carlisle librarian Cheryl Goodman says she hopes local legislators will pay attention to the issues going on.

Goodman explains, "Our state representatives and our federal representatives need to really pay attention to whats going on in southern Indiana and Sullivan county. We really need them to come here and see what's going on because we can make phone call after phone call, which we have done, and there's nothing replaces have them actually come here and talk to people face to face."

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