The LaSalle County Board is meeting Wednesday to decide whether Mississippi Sand, LLC should be granted a special use permit that would allow mining operations on property adjacent to Starved Rock State Park. Sierra Club along with Prairie Rivers Network, the Starved Rock Audubon Society and many of the area’s citizens are concerned about the potential detrimental impacts from the mining operation on LaSalle County natural areas, waterways and Starved Rock State Park.
Starved Rock State Park and the rare salt marshes in and around the proposed mine provide valuable habitat for a wide array of plant and animal life that will be directly and indirectly impacted by the noise, pollution, and constant activity generated by the mine. It is likely the mine will affect the hydrology and water quality that feeds these unique salt marshes. A detailed hydrology study is needed because the proposed development drains west into Starved Rock State Park and the millions of gallons of water pumped per day will alter the current mineral content of the salt springs and marshlands.
Over two million people visit Starved Rock State Park each year providing LaSalle County businesses with customers and local governments with revenues. This positive economic activity is based entirely on the experience of the visitor as they step out of their car into the beautiful canyons and listen to the sound of the waterfalls cascade. An active mine brings loud machinery, dust pollution and ceaseless truck traffic. A mine adjacent to the park won’t just scare off wildlife, but will lower park visitation rates and diminish economic benefits LaSalle County receives thanks to its beautiful natural areas.
Jobs and economic development are needed in LaSalle County but the location of this proposed mine threatens Starved Rock State Park, one of the County’s primary economic engines, and contradicts the county’s priorities for preserving natural areas and productive farmland. We are calling on the county zoning board to oppose the petition of Mississippi Sand, LLC for a special use permit to allow mining operations on property adjacent to Starved Rock State Park.