LaSalle County Board Approves Starved Rock Sand Pit

eaglesJanuary 12, 2012 – The LaSalle County Board today approved an application for a massive open pit sand mine next to Starved Rock State Park, despite objections from local residents and a growing outcry from citizens across the state who had urged the County to protect Starved Rock, prime farmland, and local residents from the impacts of the project.

“We’re very disappointed that LaSalle County has put Starved Rock at risk.  There are many places to mine sand, but there is only one Starved Rock,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.

The mine site includes a state-recognized natural area, and would be adjacent to Starved Rock State Park.  The mine would pump millions of gallons of water per day for its operations, and those withdrawals threaten springs and marshlands within the Park.   In addition, water pollution from mine operations could drain through the Park, its ravines, and canyons, which are an important outdoor recreation asset for Illinois. Over two million people each year visit the state park, which recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of its protection.

Despite strong opposition from local residents and thousands of comments against the mine from around Illinois, the County Board appeared to give minimal consideration to concerns about the project.

“I am saddened and angered that the LaSalle County Board failed to recognize that Starved Rock is an important economic engine for the area. Instead they have jeopardized existing tourism jobs for a few new ones that promise to pollute our air and water while degrading the experience for all Starved Rock visitors,” said Tracy Fox, a Sierra Club member who attended today’s county board meeting.

In the wake of LaSalle County’s approval, the project now must be approved by state agencies that will examine the mine’s impacts on water quality, archeological resources, natural areas, and the state park.

“The fight to protect Starved Rock from this open pit mine is far from over,” said Darin.   “Starved Rock is one of Illinois’ most special places, and citizens across the state are rallying to protect it.”

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8 responses to “LaSalle County Board Approves Starved Rock Sand Pit

  1. I also attended the ZBA hearings and Board meeting and it was rather obvious this was a “done deal” many months ago at the LaSalle County level. As a LaSalle County resisdent for over 53 years, this was without a doubt, the saddest day I’ve witnessed for Starved Rock State Park and its two million annual visitors.

  2. This is utterly ridiculous. We have taken enough land from the animals etc. Then people complain when the raccoons, fox, oppossum etc come and eat in their backyard. and dump their garbage over. Well, my dears, we have done it to ourselves.

    Why can’t we just observe mother nature, nurture it, learn from it and enjoy it.

  3. Hello!
    I am wondering what can people that care about this sacred place, do to help it? can there be protests held or something along those lines?
    Thanks, I’ve circulated petitions, but i think that didn’t really help much

  4. Sierra, we are waiting for you to lead the way and continue the fight!
    What is the plan for Round Two? Please let us know!
    We wouldn’t want to give up so easy!

  5. Please let us know who to contact at the state level. We must all raise our voices to stop the senseless destruction of air, soil, water and beauty near Starved Rock . . . that will in turn lead to poisoning of air, soil, and water in Southern IL and across the U.S. where fracking is taking place.

  6. This has some good information that should be seen by politicians and IEPA. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/05/how-rural-america-got-fracked

  7. Pingback: Don’t Frack With Illinois! | sierraclubillinois

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