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Chairman PERKINS. Congressman Simon, did you want to say something before we hear from Dr. Mueller?

Mr. SIMON. I would like to enter into the record a letter from the Superintendent of the Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit School District and also a statement by Dr. Remo Castrale, Superintendent of the Johnston City School District regarding coal mine subsidence problems.

I will also be submitting some questions to Mr. Stormer and I will then submit his answers also for the record.

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Pinpoint Disaster Program as it applies to Zeigler-Royalton
School District #188, Franklin County, Illinois.

Dear Congressman Simon:

The Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit School District #188, Franklin County, Illinois has lost two school buildings due to mine subsidence, one in 1962 and one in 1976. In both disasters the United States Government has not been able to build a new school building here. Why?

This school district was informed that under the present Pinpoint Disaster Program, the Federal Government would only provide a loan repayable in five (5) years at 6 5/2% interest to construct a new building. This school district cannot afford this type of loan.


The present Pinpoint Disaster Program is not practical for a school district which finds itself in emergency need of a new school building.

I hope that you understand that this present Pinpoint
Disaster program is an unacceptable solution to our problem.

The Board of Education and community thought that the U.S.
Government would give this school district a grant to construct
a new school building due to our disaster emergency need. Our
U. S. Government gives foreign countries foreign aid for verious
purposes, but cannot directly help a school district in this
country for legitimate reasons. Why?

I see nothing wrong with Federal Tax Dollars staying in this country for such disaster construction purposes. Priorities need to be examined and held accountable to we, the people.


George Convor

George Connor, Superintendent
Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit
School District #188

Zeigler, Illinois 62999


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Volume 76



An Edition Of The Williamson County Observer



Carterville Johnston City, Illinois, Wednesday, May 11, 1977

Single Copy Price 15c

Number 11

Mine Subsidence Problems Presented By Dr. Castrale

By Wilma B. Roth

Dr. Remo Castrale, superin-
tendent of the Johnston City
School District No. 1, was in-
vited by the Illinois Environ-
mental Council to make a pre-
sentation on mine subsidence
at a conference on Energy
Planning, May 4, at the St.
Nicholas Hotel in Springfield.

"Problems of mine subsid-
ence and its implications for
state and federal govern-
ments," was the title of the
paper presented by Dr. Cas-
trale, along, with a slide pre-
sentation, which he had pre-
pared pertaining specifically
to difficulties sustained by the
local school district.

Following his presentation
before the council, Dr. Castra-
le appeared on NBC television,
Channel 20, in Springfield that
evening. He was interviewed
on problems relative to subsi-
dence and a series of slides
depicting the area were shown.
Dr. Castrale has also releas-
ed this paper to several legis-

lators, as there have recently been four bills sponsored on subsidence and reclamation.


Since the subsidence prob-
lem is one which affects this
area, having een the cause
of several school closings, we
are publishin the paper
presented by Castrale to
the IEC.
Subsidence can be defined
as a caving in of the earth
above underground areas that
have been mined out and are
now abandoned. Subsidence is
a danger in the mining of min-
erals, such as coal, salt, zinc,
clay, copper, potash, uranium,
etc. Subsidence also occurs
from natural causes such as
voids created in lirnestone for-
mations. But most of the sub-
sidence that has" caused exten-
sive damage in urban areas
has occurred in coal mining

Coal has been a major so-
urce of energy in our country
for many years. Before oil and
gas came on the scene, coal
was the leading energy source

in the United States. And ev-
en today, it is still a most im-
portant natural resource. Ma-
ny years ago, before the ad-
vent of the kind of technology
that now exists in coal min-
ing, mines that played out
were abandoned without the
knowledge that they might of-
fer possible danger of subsid-
ence in the future.

According to a report pub-
lished by the Dowell Division
of the Dow Chemical comp-
any, more than 8,000,000 acres
of land in the United States
has been mined out. And of
this, at least 2,000,000 acres
have subsided, most in rural
areas. But nearly 160,000 ac-
res of these subsided acres
have been in urban areas.

When the supports in a mine
prove unable to carry the
weight of the overburden of
the earth above it, then the
supports collapse into the min-
ed out area, and the surface
of the earth above this area
also drops. The results of all
this on the surface produces

severe damage to


that is so great that more oft-
en than not buildings
homes must be completely ab-
andoned. Repairs can be only
temporary at best because
once subsidence starts, no one
knows when it will end. And
once it begins, it usually can-
not be stopped by artificial

Coal mine subsidence can
also be described as the re-
settling of the ground over a
coal mine resulting in various
degrees of surface movement.
Thomas O. Glover, Liaison Of-
ficer of the Bureau of Mines,
U. S. Department of Interior,
reports that subsidence may
take place in a series of epi-
sodes followed by a period of
time during which the ground
is apparently stable. Subsid-
ence is completed when the
mine opening is fully closed,
but remains a possibility as
long as the mine opening re-
.mains. Subsidence occurs from
both active as well as aband-
oned mines.

Dr. W. Calhoun Smith, Geo-
logist in Charge of Engineer-
ing Geology and Topographic
Mapping Section, Illinois State
Geological Survey states that
subsidence is total or complete
when the mine opening has
been reduced to zero, and sev-
eral episodes of subsidence
may be required for this point
to be reached. Once an episode
of subsidence has started,
there is no practical way to
stop it in time to prevent da-
mage to the structures at the

From my own personal point
of view based upon our school
district's and community's ex-
periences with mine subsid-
ence, I must agree with the
statement presented to


House Executive Subcommit-
tee on Mine Subsidence by Dr,
George T. Stubblefield, Jr.
who stated, "I would define it
as sheer hell. There are many
more factors and ramifications
that enter living through this
than in a definition."

As mining operations have expanded and surface struct

ures have increased in value,
public concern about subsid-
ence has increased. Today, the
effects of subsidence are being
felt by many property owners,
especially those in Southern
Illinois. Homes and other
structures resting above or
near land atop underground
mines have been seriously
damaged by coal mine subsi-
dence. Entire structures have
dropped or shifted as under-
ground mines have collapsed.
Foundations and walls have

cracked and many structures
have been abandoned. Addi-

tionally, water mains, sew-
age pipes, and gas lines have
broken causing communities
great hardship and economic


Damage for individual home-
owners may amount to several
thousand dollars in reconstruc-
tion costs and even more in
decreased property value. Sub-
sidence is not limited solely to
homeowners for it can strike
commercial businesses
public structures such
schools. (Harmony-Emge

St. Clair County; Zeigler High
School and Leiter School in
Franklin County and the two
Washington Schools in Johns-
ton City, Williamson County.)
Since 1970, subsidence has af-
fected scores of siructures and
cost millions of dollars.

The problem of mine subsi-
dence has increased in the
past few years because of the
aging and deterioration of all
abandoned coal mines and be-
cause of the expansion of sub-
urban growth outside of city

limits into undermined areas.
It is imperative that both
State and Federal governmen-
tal agencies become actively
involved in research and pilot
projects evolving around mine
subsidence in an effort to de-

1. The incidences of mine

2. The causes of mine sub

3. The general effects of
mine subsidence;
4. The methods for prevent
asing or lessening the extent of
in property damage or for stabil.


izing land affected by mine subsidence;

5. Whether the state should
regulate or provide the insur-
ance programs for the proper
ty owner in the area of mine

Illinois legislators such as
Representative Monroe Flynn
and Representative Celeste Stl
ehl conducted public hearings
in Belleville and Marion, Il-
nois in August, 1976 in an ef
fort to

secure information
from witnesses about problems
caused by mine subsidence.
The main purpose of these
hearings was to investigate
possible legislative action to
deal with the increasing pro-
blem of mine subsidence in
coal mining regions. As a re-
sult of these hearings, legis-
lation has now been proposed
which addresses itself to these
problems of mine subsidence
and to a proposal for making
insurance coverage available
to property owners for dam-
ages resulting from mine sub-
sidence. At the present time,
property owners who recog-

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nize and fear potential subs
dence problems cannot obtain
insurance to protect agains
subsidence because it is simp-
ly not available. If subsidence
does occur, property owners,
have no recourse or remedy..
No state or federal funds are
available to mine subsidence
victims not even special low
interest loans.

As a result of the mine sub-
sidence problems experienced
by our school district and
community, I would recom-
mend that state agencies such
as the Capital Development
Board and the Illinois Office
of Education become more
aware of mine subsidence and
its implications for school con
struction especially in geogra
phic areas where subsidence
could present a problem.

School districts located in
these geographic areas should
have available from these and.
other agencies technical ser
vices and funds for planning
assistance grants to aid local
boards of education and school
officials in making responsible

and prudent decisions relative
to immediate and future build-
ing needs. Furthermore, it is
essential that these state ag
encies become actively involy-
ed in assisting these school
districts in the decision-mak
ing process relative to the id
entification of possible school
sites; site selection; and spe-
cial structural designs to be
incorporated in the construc
tion of the building. We are
all a part of the mine subsid-
ence problem and therefore we
should all become a part of
the solution of this problem..

Remember mine subsidence
is an underground disease that
has brought vast amounts of
destruction to cities, towns,
farmlands, rivers and streams.
But it is also a story, of the
hope that this disease can be
halted before it does any fur-
ther damage; that modern te
chnology can and will save the
day for those communities af
fected by the ravages of SUB-

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Thank you for your letter of June 29 submitting questions on pinpoint disaster assistance to be answered for the record.

We have provided answers that one hopes are helpful in the enclosures.


Sincerely yours,


William L. Stormer

Director, School Assistance
in Federally Affected Areas

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