Feature - Post-Coal Depression in the Illinois Basin
Peter van Agtmael
For most of the 20th century, the Illinois Basin, located in the southern part of the state, was a thriving coal mining center. Local communities which had depended on the coal industry were devastated in the 1990s when new environmental regulations came into effect: production plummeted and thousands became unemployed. The remaining residents are largely impoverished and don't know if local communities will ever fully recover.
On assignment for Pacific Standard, Peter van Agtmael documented the depressed Illinois Basin region and the remainders of their once massive industry.