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home : opinions :   May 26, 2016

10/17/2013 10:00:00 AM
Letters to the editor: 'La Salle County the new Appalachia?'

 “Clean water or good jobs?” was the headline (10/8/13) about the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency hearings on the permit needed from the IEPA by Illinois Sand to dig up the 500-plus acres of prime farmland they want to mine for silica sand. Perhaps a more accurate headline would have been “La Salle County the new Appalachia?”
The jobs promised by Illinois Sand/Northern White Sand will not be new jobs. They will replace the agricultural jobs on which this county has relied since the area was first settled. The jobs that will be affected are not only the planting and harvesting of crops, but grain hauling, equipment sales, sales of seed and fertilizer, storing of grain in the elevators and shipping of grain on the barges. How many agricultural jobs will be lost? How many more acres will be taken out of production by other speculators seeking to get rich from the silica sand which is buried below the farmland they have purchased to turn into silica mines?
In addition, tourism jobs may become scarce. If the land is pockmarked by mines, what will happen to the tourist industry? Will tourists come, especially if the rivers and streams are polluted by acid water from the runoff of rain and storm water running through the veins of coal, now buried, which will be exposed by the mining process?
Countywide zoning was supposed to protect homeowners and good farmland. Instead of going to the county board, the mining industry changed to a less expensive method of achieving what they wanted by promising a village mayor and trustees a few hundred thousand dollars for their expenses plus a donation of some equipment to help maintain the additional roads for which they will now be responsible. As a result all but one of the village officials couldn’t wait to annex the land.
They were in such a rush to do so that they ignored the recommendations of their own Planning Commission which voted unanimously against the annexation stating they needed more information on the issues that were raised at the hearings; ignored the concerns raised at the hearings by those living next to the proposed mine; and voted to annex the land and give Illinois Sand a special use permit without any comment or discussion.
If the village loses its two primary industries, the elevator for storing and shipping grain and tourism, the few jobs from mining won’t do much to fill the vacuum. If that happens, Utica officials may come to regret their hasty decision to invite mines into their village.
Pat Wagner,

P.S. The statement in the article that Edmund Thornton “publicly acknowledged a financial stake in a competitor sand company” directly contradicts what Mr Thornton said in his testimony. What he actually said was that he had no financial interest in U.S. Silica, which bought Ottawa Silica, the company his family had owned until it was sold to U.S. Silica.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013
Article comment by: MotherEarthSpeaks

Veterans all across the country are realizing the value of good farmland, nutritious food, and a healthy clean environment for their families' future.
This article clearly demonstrates the vast number of JOBS and well-lived LIVES that are possible HERE if you open your eyes and see the possibilities:

Organic farms are necessary and desirable.
Support our returning vets and give them a hand up to live healthy fulfilling lives.

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

Maybe your new sand pit will not use the latest in tec. maybe they will use Flintstone methods I do not know. however, most new pits use high pressure hydro. to wash away sand from the sides of the pit .
That water must go somewhere, simply has to as it must come from somewhere.
That water comes to the site clean and pure and leaves with contaminates. Many of them harmful to humans and wild life.
That is an unfortunate fact.
As far as limestone mining goes.
This area leads Illinois in cases of lung ailments.
My garden suffers from the pollutants in the air from that process as do my autos finishes. What I see deposited on my plants and cars, I and members of my family breath on a daily basis and that to is a fact.
The air cleaned up for a few years in the late 60's and 70's but gets worse by the day in the last fifteen or so years.
I am back to using gallons of vinegar on auto finishes and windows. Plant, I just have to stand back and watch them die.
So, what is a life style worth to U? What do U wish to leave to your grand children?
Open pits trough out the region? What happens when open pits meet deep tunnel mines during an earth tremor ? Where will they run to? How fast will they have to run?

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013
Article comment by: jimshooes

Let me remind you... We were debating the new sand mine of Illinois Sand which will use an open pit excavation for the extraction and processing of the industrial sand,... NOT the Mississippi Sand mine that uses fraking technology...

The discharge water that will be generated from the new Illinois Sand mine will be from "groundwater seepage, process water, and the storm water runoff, which will result in an average discharge of 0.144 MGD of water outfall to a unnamed tributary of the Illinois River", so you see... the choice between "Good paying jobs or clean, palatable drinking water"? is stretching the facts in
Your argument against this new business... because there is almost no way, for well or water contamination to occur.

Illinois is mandated by state law to issue a permit if the applicant meets the requirements for obtaining a permit, and those recommending denial of the permit application should be prepared to state the regulation... that is the basis of their objection ...
in Illinois Sand's case there are none.

Illinois Sand has promised to be a good neighbor in Utica and address all concerns...
IMO... I think They deserve the benefit of the doubt...

The potential benefits to Utica and the Illinois Valley go beyond the estimated 70 new high paying jobs and increased tax
revenue to the village, they include pumping millions of dollars into the local economy annually from ancillary necessities...
which translate into more needed jobs,and more needed tax revenues for the whole Valley... address Your question..."Why must there be a choice in what we have now and then leave in our passing to our grand children?"... It is Our obligation as parents and citizens, to make the correct choices that bring prosperity to Our communities and provide opportunities for Our children's children...

Where would the Valley be if They hadn't decided to mine limestone here ?

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

O K. I will concede that devaluation of the dollar might have a thing or two to do with the rising cost natural gas used in home heating, however deflation has not yet come to fruition. It may but not yet,
I would blame that rise more on the stock market and the part that speculators play. We can debate that and never find a winner, but that being said, what has the value of a greenback dollar have to do with a choice between "Good paying jobs or clean, palatable drinking water"? Why must there be a choice in what we have now and then leave in our passing to our grand children?
Is a fancy house and fast car in lieu of a glass of cool, sweet drinking water? Are they worth the price? Would you be willing to drink the water U want to leave to them now, would you?
I reckon some wise answer, like, I will drink beer will be forthcoming.

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Article comment by: jimshooes

In reference to... "working as a sand miner"...... I am not, nor ever will be, a sand miner...But i do wish
to point out your propensity to exaggerate and twist the facts to support your agenda... if the true facts
aren't enough to make your case... then maybe you need to keep quiet...

Seeing how you asked the question why"my heating bill go up and not down? " being an "old sod" with such a long pedigree ... I'm surprised that you don't know the answer.... it's not about supply and demand... it's about the worlds value of the US dollar...

The Federal Reserve has been printing "fiat" money since the early 60's, devaluing the US dollar... JFK knew of this scheme and was acting against it... when His assassination took place,...
currently they call it Quantitative Easing...where they purchase 52 billion dollars worth of bonds from the Treasury monthly, effectively diluting the value of the dollar a few cents each time.. making everything cost more....and driving down the standard of living for the working class families...and make no mistake about it, the government knows what they are doing to the American people...

and If You'all want to be mad about something... this should be it...

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