Seven Month Moratorium on Surface Mining in Place
Last Thursday afternoon, the LaSalle County Board unanimously passed a 7-month moratorium on surface mining – including silica sand mining – while the county revises its outdated Comprehensive Development Plan, an important document that guides land-use decisions in the area.
The moratorium only applies to new surface mining activities in unincorporated areas of LaSalle County. In other words, existing mines such as the highly controversial Mississippi Sand mine bordering Starved Rock State Park are exempt from this resolution. Furthermore, the moratorium does not apply to mines that may be approved by local city governments, whose jurisdiction supersedes the county’s ruling. Though not perfect, the moratorium will give the county a chance to breathe as it develops plans to better protect the people, land, and water from mining impacts.
The Sierra Club is thrilled with the moratorium’s passing – it is a huge first step in the right direction. From here, zoning director Mike Harsted announced the county plans to hold additional development committee meetings and provide public forums to give opportunities for citizen comments. Sierra Club plans to participate in these meetings with special focus on the environmental and health-related impacts of sand mining.