By CARL GREEN
Springfield, IL – Gov. J.B. Pritzker has appointed three veteran miners to the State Mining Board, which issues safety rules and regulations for the Illinois coal industry.
Subject to Senate confirmation, those appointed are:
- Bernard Harsy – Harsy began working for Consol Coal in April 1973. He worked at the Burning Star #4 strip mine in Cutler, IL, in Perry County near Pinckneyville, until its closure in July 2002.
Harsy has 29 years of mining experience. He was president of UMWA Local 1825 for 22 years and was chairman of its Mine Safety Committee.
- Ronnie Huff – Ronnie Huff began working for Peabody Coal in 1977 and in 1978 started at Ziegler Mine #11 at Coulterville in Randolph County. He worked 28 years underground and obtained First Class and Mine Examiner papers.
Huff also spent six months in West Virginia with the UMWA investigating the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. He has been secretary-treasurer of Local 2161 for 15 years, served on its Mine Safety Committee for five years and the Miners Examining Board for two years.
- Michael Huff – Michael Huff served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1972, spending a year in Vietnam and started working at Peabody Coal after being honorably discharged. He later worked at Amax Coal in Keensburg, Ill., in Wabash County near the Indiana border, until Amax closed in 2007.
Huff served on the State Miners’ Examining Board from 2003 until 2015. He now owns and operates a farm market with his son. He attended Maunie and Carmi schools, graduating from Carmi Township High School in 1968.
The State Mining Board has six members from the mining community plus the director of the Office of Mines and Minerals, who is the executive officer. The board administers and interprets the Illinois Coal Mining Act and issues safety-related rules and regulations.
The board also issues Certificates of Competency for mine examiners, mine managers, hoisting engineers, mine inspectors, surface mine supervisors, shot firers, mine rescue station supervisors and assistants and shaft and slope examiners and supervisors. It holds examinations for certification candidates.