After 2 days and 15 hours of testimony the LaSalle County zoning board voted on December 15, 2011, to approve a destructive new special use permit that would allow a sand mine adjacent to Starved Rock State Park.
The proposal is scheduled to be heard by the full county board on January 12, 2012, at 707 E. Etna Road, Room 250, Ottawa, Illinois at 1:00pm. Submit a comment to the LaSalle County Board today and help protect one of Illinois’s special places.
Starved Rock State Park and the rare brackish wetland areas in and around the proposed mine are listed in Illinois’ Natural Area Inventory and have been designated as high quality natural communities to be protected. These areas 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. The mine also has the potential to significantly alter the hydrology of the area.
LaSalle County’s natural areas and Starved Rock are unique assets that not only offer a chance to experience Illinois’s natural heritage but are also a strong economic engine for the County as well. Over two million people visit Starved Rock State park each year providing the county businesses with customers and local governments with revenues.
The location of this proposed mine threatens Starved Rock State Park, contradicts the county’s priorities for preserving natural areas and farmland and jeopardizes one of the County’s primary economic engines. A mine adjacent to the park won’t just scare off wildlife, but will lower park visitation rates and diminish the economic benefits LaSalle County receives thanks to its beautiful natural areas.